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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Parallel Mothers': A Resounding and Deeply Sentimental Tale of Human Affinity from Spain

Parallel Mothers (Madres Paralelas) Poster

Parallel Mothers (Madres Paralelas) (2021) is a deeply moving Spanish-language drama starring Penelope Cruz and Milena Smit as Janis and Ana, unwed mothers who first meet while sharing a hospital room as they both prepare to give birth.

Janis is in her 40's and content with her decision to bear a child later in life, while teenage Ana is ill-prepared for motherhood and terrified by her ordeal. The two develop a close bond that carries forward over time, as they manage the myriad complexities of parenthood and modern life in the city of Madrid—ultimately choosing to live together as mutual caregivers. Unexpected turns in the lives of both women ultimately converge, however, as stunning and unforeseen revelations challenge their deep abiding faith in one another.

Written and directed by famed Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar (Talk to Her, The Skin I Live In), Parallel Mothers evolves in complexity as the relationship between the two women matures, while Janis maintains her own complicated relationship with her child's father Arturo (Israel Elejalde). Steeped in sentiment and profound intimacy, it's a bold depiction of hidden truths and the unassailable bonds of human affinity.


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