Film Reviews, Short Review

La mala educación [Bad Education] (2004)


Pedro Almodóvar’s weakest 21st-century film so far (with the possible exception of the entertaining but lightweight I’m So Excited), Bad Education’s considerable promise and exploration of queer identity is ultimately undercut by its own internal Byzantine complexity. Of course, Almodóvar’s films are known for being preposterously complex and intricate in their plotting, but simply put, here he overreaches. Whereas the litany of flashbacks and framing devices used in All About My Mother, Talk to Her or even his latest film Julieta all always pointed towards a final emotional conclusion, here it ends up obfuscating what should be the film’s most poignant elements, instead wasting what is truly a herculean effort by Gael García Bernal to juggle multiple identities and characters into one whole, cohesive performance. That said, it still looks gorgeous.


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