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Film / All About My Mother

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All About My Mother is a 1999 film from Spain by Pedro Almodóvar, starring Cecilia Roth and Penélope Cruz. In North America it was released by Sony Pictures Classics, while in Spain it was distributed by Warner Bros. under Warner Sogefilms.

Manuela (Roth) is a middle-aged nurse who works at a hospital in Madrid, and is in charge of the hospital's organ donation program. She is a single mother to an only child, Esteban, who has dreams of being a writer. On his 17th birthday, Esteban is struck by a car and killed while trying to get the autograph of Huma Rojo, a prominent actress. Manuela, stricken with grief, leaves for her old hometown of Barcelona. She is searching for Lola, Esteban's father, who is now a transvestite prostitute. Among the people she meets in Barcelona are her old friend Agrado, a transsexual prostitute; Rosa (Cruz), a nun who happens to be pregnant and HIV positive; her son's idol Huma Rojo, and Huma's lover and fellow actress Nina.


  • Addled Addict: Nina's heroin habit is so bad that she has to shoot up during performances of the play.
  • Break the Cutie: Rosa learns that she is HIV positive while being pregnant.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: When Nina suggests that Agrado could get rid of her fake tits, Agrado responds that if she did she wouldn't get work. Apparently the men that patronize transgender hookers demand big racks.
  • Completely Different Title: In-Universe. Esteban is irritated when All About Eve comes on Spanish television with the Spanish title "Eve Unveiled".
  • Dead Guy Junior: Rosa names her baby Esteban as a tribute to the baby's deceased half-brother, Manuela's son.
  • Death by Childbirth: Rosa dies of Placenta praevia, leaving Manuela to adopt little Esteban.
  • Downer Beginning: Esteban is hit by a car and killed 12 minutes into the movie.
  • Foreshadowing: Esteban is nearly hit by a car as he dashes across the street to meet his mom; she tells him to be more careful. Shortly thereafter he dashes out into the street again and is struck and killed.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: "Have it. What do you expect?" So says Rosa when Manuela asks what Rosa is going to do about her pregnancy.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Manuela. She is a very loyal friend to almost everybody around her, as well as a nurturing mother figure to Rosa when she needs it the most. She also happens to have blond hair.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Agrado is the nicest transgender prostitute you'll ever meet, good-hearted, kind and generous to her friends.
  • The Ingenue: Rosa is an innocent and idealistic social worker who hands out condoms to street hookers, volunteers to help people in El Salvador (at the expense of her own life) and wanted to give Manuela a full time job at her parents' house even though she barely knew her and mistook her for a prostitute.
  • Melodrama: Death by getting hit by a car, Death by Childbirth, death by AIDS, drug addiction, lots of crying...
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: Rosa thinks Manuela is a prostitute when she first met her, just like Agrado. Not that she minds or would have anything against it though.
  • Morning Sickness: Manuela and Rosa are out and about when Rosa, who complained that she wasn't feeling well, vomits. In her next scene she reveals that she's pregnant.
  • P.O.V. Cam: A shot from Esteban's POV as he's flipped into the air by a car before crashing to the ground.
  • Streetwalker: Agrado, who is trying and failing to fight off an aggressive john when Manuela rescues her by whacking the john on the head with a rock.
  • Time Skip: Several. The last one is accompanied by an overhead shot showing Manuela's train leaving Barcelona. Then, after "Two years later" appears onscreen, the same train is shown going in the opposite direction, as she returns.

Alternative Title(s): Todo Sobre Mi Madre