Hable con ella/Talk To Her

This is the name of one of my favourite films.  For some reason, I originally typed “movie” but had to erase it.  It’s one of those rare pieces of art too delicate to warrant being in the same category as Scary Movie 3 and Gigli.  Well, maybe pretty much anything is too good to be compared with Scary Movie 3 and Gigli but let’s not get sidetracked.  I’m here to tell you about Talk To Her.

This film is a drama, set in Spain.  The two main characters are Benigno and Marco, and they meet in the hospital where Benigno works as a nurse.  Marco is there visiting a famous female bullfighter named Lydia, who he was in the process of interviewing for a magazine.  In just a few months they had become very close, and when she gets severely gored in a bullfight, Marco goes to visit her often.  He is intrigued as he walks by the room where Benigno is working, because although his patient is clearly in a coma, the nurse is speaking to her as he works.  Benigno sees him and invites him in, then tells him the story of how he came to know this woman he loves, who is now also his patient.  This part is too complex, and for me to tell it here would be, quite simply, useless.  Suffice it to say, the woman did not share his affections before she got in the accident that hospitalized her.  Needless to say, he says he has been looking after her most days of the week and many nights as well, for four years.  He is clearly in love with this woman with whom he has had virtually no real or significant interaction.

The film shows a lot of the routine tasks nurses must perform, and the language is candid and the bluntness can be a bit shocking.  Through it all, though, Benigno’s softness — his almost feminine warmth — brings back the humanity within the hospital setting.  There are also occasional clips of theatre that add humour and depth to the sometimes very moving storyline.  The friendship of the two men grows as they spend more and more time together by the women’s bedsides, and the characters become richer and richer as more pieces of the plot are filled in.

The more dramatic moments, again, I feel obliged to keep secret, for fear of dissuading people from watching the actual film.  Granted I’m not the best at foreshadowing in movies, but after watching it again today it was as I expected: even if you know the plot and all its intricacies, the acting pulls you in anyway.  The first time I watched it, I cried.  Actually, I think I bawled.  Crying is rare for me (I laughed throughout A Walk To Remember), but I think honestly it might have been the first film to ever make me unable to stop crying.  I have been meaning to see it a second time to see if it still had an effect after the novelty of surprise had worn out, and to see if I still love this film; it did, and I still do.


Have you seen this film?  Tell me what you think!