Penélope Cruz mesmerizes in Pedro Almodóvar’s <span style="">Volver</span>.

Penélope Cruz mesmerizes in Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver.

Rated 5.0

Spanish writer-director Pedro Almodóvar’s latest comedy-drama is better experienced than described—at once, somehow, plotless and brimming with storylines, hilarious and harrowing, inevitable yet continually surprising. It involves a working-class woman (Penélope Cruz) struggling to support her shiftless, lowlife husband and raise her teenage daughter (Yohana Cobo); and her sister (Lola Dueñas), a hairdresser who, it seems, is being haunted by the ghost of their dead mother (Carmen Maura). Few filmmakers work better with women than Almodóvar, and he gets quirkily textured performances from them all here, in a knowing treatise on the currents that run between mothers and daughters. Cruz, especially, is a revelation.