HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Critters Attack
Prison on Fire
Dragged Across Concrete
Do the Right Thing
Hellboy
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
Shazam!
Follow Me
Leto
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Dumbo
Kaleidoscope
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Klute
Meow
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Benjamin
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Flatliners
   
 
Newest Articles
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
   
 
  What Have I Done to Deserve This? Apartment ShockBuy this film here.
Year: 1984
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Carmen Maura, Luis Hostalot, Ryo Hiruma, Ángel de Andrés López, Gonzalo Suárez, Verónica Forqué, Juan Martínez, Chus Lampreave, Kiti Mánver, Sonia Hohmann, Cecilia Roth, Diego Caretti, José Maneul Bello, Pedro Almodóvar, Fabio McNamara
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Trash
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The place is Madrid, and the woman is Gloria (Carmen Maura), a housewife with a cleaning job that provides for her family, all of whom live with her in a cramped apartment. Her teenage sons are drug dealers, her mother-in-law (Chus Lampreave) went dotty years ago and now is obsessed with various things like muffins, and her husband Polo (Luis Hostalot) is a taxi driver who once made quite a bit of money forging letters from Adolf Hitler for his German celebrity boss at the time, though while he left some years ago, he still dreams of returning to her. Now that money is nowhere to be seen, as is any sympathy Polo might have for his wife, or any interest in the rest of his brood, which may be why Gloria throws herself at another man at work...

But nothing is ever simple, a lesson that you may not need to learn from the movies, though writer and director Pedro Almodóvar was going to teach it to you regardless in one of his early efforts that nonetheless represented a sure and steady maturing of his style and themes. As ever, his interest in depicting the everyday stress that women go through, especially the ordinary women of Spain, was to the fore, and it was this support he was wanting to offer that was quickly making his name as one of the finest male directors of actresses since the days of George Cukor in Hollywood. What gave him the edge was his sense of humour, which may have been tempered over the years with occasional returns to his old ways, but here was firing on all cylinders.

If this was not his funniest movie, it was close to the top, a mishmash of outrageous jokes and premises that was so complicated you might not be able to catch everything on first viewing, such was the density of the plot. If you were being unkind you could observe he was lacking discipline, and his punk roots were showing, but this barrage of scenes had its own appeal, and was often laugh out loud funny even as he indulged himself in pathos that your average soap opera might have balked at featuring. How far you went with the emotional sequences was very much dependent on acclimatising yourself to Almodóvar's sensibilities, and many preferred his jokes to his tugs on the audience's heartstrings.

Nevertheless, that inherent sympathy with his female characters, Gloria in particular, amounted to his trademark, and his heroine here was certainly put through the mill though remaining as wacky as the others she shared the screen with at times. She has neighbours who have their own eccentricities, such as the prostitute Crystal (Véronica Forqué, who would take the lead in Kika, possibly the director's most controversial work), or the harassed single mother Juani (Kiti Mánver) who makes no secret of her hatred for her young daughter. That daughter had an intriguing aspect, since she has psychic powers that were reminiscent of Roald Dahl's book Matilda, and it would not be that much of a stretch to wonder if the great writer had lifted her persona for his own work, for a very good reason.

That being Almodóvar had lifted a plotline for this from one of Dahl's most famous "twist in the tale" short stories, Lamb to the Slaughter, which occurred later on in the narrative and added spice to an already overcrowded yarn. If there were tributes going on, and you'd like to think there were, then you couldn't have wished to find them in two such distinctive voices, one in literature and the other in cinema, and you had to assume much respected electropop duo Pet Shop Boys were also making their appreciation of the director clear when they borrowed the English language title of what was originally ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto? for their hit collaboration with Dusty Springfield. Back at this effort, and it was so stuffed with incident that it might begin to wash over you, from the policeman who tempts Gloria into the shower at the gym where she works only to discover he is impotent (which is treated surprisingly seriously) to one of the sons being sold to a pervert dentist for his own pleasure because money is tight, but then it would recover with a genuinely hilarious line or set-up. Certainly one of this filmmaker's better comedies.

[This title is included in the Blu-ray box set The Almodóvar Collection, with excellent prints of not only What Have I Done to Deserve This? but also Dark Habits, Law of Desire, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Kika and Flower of My Secret. Each disc has a featurette of interviews with selected cast members and their director, plus an introduction by an expert.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 724 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: