The Human Voice (2020)

Tilda Swinton, Agustín Almodóvar, Miguel Almodóvar, Pablo Almodóvar,
The Human Voice is a short starring Tilda Swinton, Agustín Almodóvar, and Miguel Almodóvar. A woman watches time passing next to the suitcases of her ex-lover (who is supposed to come pick them up, but never arrives) and a restless...
  • 6.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2021-05-06 Added:
  • Jean Cocteau, Writer:
  • Pedro Almodóvar, Director:
  • Esther García, Producer:

Trailer:

6 / 10

Oh well, we don't find out now that Pedro

While Swintons performance is a great showcase for her range and understanding of this character - The Human Voice can feel a bit to self indulgent and overly sarcastic. Almodovars direction shines in the moments where Swinton dominates the screen but falters when trying to build a world around her that would support the feeling of the emotional turmoil she is in.

6 / 10

Oh well, we don't find out now that Pedro

While Swintons performance is a great showcase for her range and understanding of this character - The Human Voice can feel a bit to self indulgent and overly sarcastic. Almodovars direction shines in the moments where Swinton dominates the screen but falters when trying to build a world around her that would support the feeling of the emotional turmoil she is in.

5 / 10

The dog

The dog is identified in the film credits at the end, but oddly not here - his name is Dash. And he does a great job.

7 / 10

Una mujer al borde de un ataque de nervios

One thing I noticed, and adored, about Almodóvar, is that despite his unequivocal propensity for incorporating comedy with melodrama, there's no way his films could come across as either silly or overly sentimental. For his stories are laced with considerable nuance. His Women on the Verge on a Nervous Breakdown, which is also based on Jean Cocteau's play, "La voix humaine" as this short is, maintains an incremental humorous tone so much so it could be adequately described, by its end, as a farce. Yet, as we see Pepa trying to figure out why her lover dumped her without an explanation, Almodóvar delves into Pepa's psyche with great subtlety that's apt for her precarious state. That's why I thought The Human Voice would benefit greatly from the concentrated nature of short films. Our unnamed protagonist's wait for three days for her lover to come in a last chance to see him has filled her with rage. A vindictive rage almost identical to that of The Bride in Kill Bill, but she still loves him. So she acts out like a maniac: stabbing one of her lover's suits with an axe in a harmless cathartic release. She wouldn't dare to actually hurt him; she still loves him. Therefore, she's so vulnerable. Over the course of her conversation with his lover, her seemingly stable and wry demeanour gradually crumbles, exposing both her helplessness and her futile undirected rage. Almodóvar brilliantly highlights such contradiction and lays her feelings bare by showing the soundstage her exuberantly furnished, sumptuously coloured apartment is constructed upon. As she grows more desperate, she begins to lose control. Finally, she decides to free herself from the submissive woman she's always been, and put an end to their toxic relationship - after all, her love made her too fragile and delicate to venture to turn the tables on him as Alma did on Reynolds in Phantom Thread. The thing is, I didn't feel that she loves him. What's baffling is that I can't put my finger on why exactly I feel so, but it's likely due to the stagy feel this film has. It is a showcase of Tilda Swinton's thespian prowess, but, at times, her monologue comes off rather like a soliloquy - like there's no one on the other side of the phone line. Regardless, The Human Voice is an eye-popping, exquisitely-made feminist work with witty sarcastic undertones.