Talk to Her
(Hable con ella
) is a Spanish language film by Pedro Almodovar. It features Marco, a writer and Benigno an orderly, who both struggle with the implications of the women of their lives being stuck in a persistent vegetative states.
The film begins with Marco, an otherwise tough and masculine man being brought to tears while seeing a ballet. Next to him is Benigno a sweet, harmless looking dude who is moved by Marco's reaction. They almost meet, but they don't.
Next we see Benigno back at his job at the clinic, taking care of a very very pretty young girl in a coma, named Alicia. We quickly find out that he is deeply in love with her, and only works at this clinic to be close to her.
We learn that Marco is a sad, sensitive man who pines for a lost love. He is given an assignment to interview a fiery but emotionally damaged woman named Lydia, who happens to be a bull fighter. Although their meeting is initially fraught, the two eventually hit it off and become lovers.
Through a series of flash backs and flash forwards, we learn more about Marco's relationship with Lydia until she is gored by a bull and put in a coma.
As it happens, Lydia and Alicia are in the same clinic and the Benigno remembers Marco from the ballet. Both of them are in the same situation, so they become friends.
Their friendship and Marco's acceptence of Lydia's state is the focus of the film until it is revealed that Alicia is pregnant and Benigno is accused of raping her.
Wait, what? That's right, Alicia is pregnant!
It gets worse.
This film is an example of the following tropes:
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: There's a subplot where Benigno sees a silent movie where a scientist develops a shrinking serum. Her boyfriend drinks it, and then literally CRAWLS INSIDE HER VAGINA FOREVER.
- Author Appeal: Seems like most of Almodovar's movies have Matadors in them. Just sayin'.
- It's a cultural thing.
- The Deconstruction of various sexuality-related themes is a broader example.
- Beastly Bloodsports: Lydia is a bullfighter. Her profession is not questioned, and may even add to her sex appeal.
- Bifauxnen: Lydia, Marco's girlfriend.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Sheltered Benigno's main reason for being sympathetic is that he doesn't really know any better. His disconnect with reality is so extreme it sends him into Deconstruction territory.
- Convenient Coma: Even though Lydia dies, Alicia eventually wakes up and it is strongly imlpied that Marco and Alicia end up together.
- Converse with the Unconscious
- Driven to Suicide: Benigno, though he wasn't exactly trying to commit suicide. He wanted to put himself in a coma, to be closer to Alicia.
- Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Two, both really in a coma, though strictly speaking only one is a girlfriend.
- Technically, neither of them are.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Even though Alicia is unconscious for almost the whole movie, she is presented in a notably erotic and/or sensual fashon, with several nude scenes. She sensually half-smiles through most of them.
- Ironic Name: Benigno's name is Spanish for harmless, or benign, and is even referenced in one scene when he says to Alicia, "Don't worry. I'm harmless". It seems to fit him perfectly, until he rapes Alicia.
- Meaningful Name: Lampshaded with Lydia, which is similar to the Spanish "lidia." For those who don't know Spanish and can't wait for google translate to load, lidia means bullfight. Lydia is a bullfighter.
- Men Don't Cry: Averted, in a way that manages to make the man crying much more sympathetic.
- Mistaken for Gay: Toyed around with (in the dramatic sense) in relation to Benigno, likely exposing the viewer's initial assumptions about the character in the process.
- Moral Dissonance: Subverted. Only Almadovar could make Benigno such a sweet lovable guy regardless of what he does.
- Rape Portrayed as Redemption: It's implied that the main reason that Alicia wakes up is the birth of her stillborn child.
- Rule of Drama: A lot of key things in the plot would only happen the movies. Alicia waking up due to her pregnancy for example.
- Stalker with a Crush: Benigno's interaction with Alicia before she falls into a coma. He watches her dance practice from his apartment, follows her home, and books an appointment with her psychiatrist father just as an excuse to see her.
- The Stoic: Subverted with Marco. He ends up having a lot to cry about. And he does.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Benigno has a moment like this with the clinic staff.