Parallel Mothers: the story told by Pedro Almodóvar in this drama is, in many ways, typical of the director; that is not at all a complaint, to be clear. The intense and efficient melodrama, as it focuses on two mothers that gave birth on the same day, takes a look at the worst nightmares of new motherhood, at the same time it evolves in unexpected ways. The secondary storyline is mostly disconnected, but it still has thematic relevance and fleshes out further the protagonist. Penélope Cruz is phenomenal as the oldest mother, a photographer who owns her own nose and sets her destiny without sacrificing her emotions; Milena Smit, the youngest mother, plays beautifully off her. Composer Alberto Iglesias creates a musical score that is very emotive but has some Bernard Herrmann overtones; that creates a fine balance that makes the film always seem to turn into something else. As usual with Almodóvar, the sets are very well decorated, a solid work by production designer Antxón Gómez and art director Alejandra Loiseau. Cinematographer José Luis Alcaine captures it all very elegantly.