Pedro Almodovar has developed a well deserved reputation for being the world's top women's director. He is one of the few men working in film today who consistently writes rich, deep and interesting roles in his mostly female dominated scripts. Nowhere is his tender affection and admiration for the “fairer sex” more vivid than last year's Volver, a film with quiet and simple charms that has won me over more and more the longer I think about it.
The story doesn't stray so much from many of the standard Almodovar themes of loss, friendship, family, and the past. The shots are beautiful, the plot is unexpected and the cast, especially Penelope Cruz, absolutely shine. As his longtime muse, Cruz has graced the screen in several of his films, but this is by far her greatest performance. Everyone involved handles the emotions of losing people you love and the magic of second chances with grace and wit.
Like all of his movies, do not come to it with any expectations, as the film will always and, inevitably, be surprising. I have a lot of affection for this movie and the Almodovar catalog, I do hope you see it along with his other work. I recommend starting with this and 1988's equally brilliant Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.