Bad Education/Mala educación, La - All about Bernal

Duration: 106min
Category: drama
Available: On DVD
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Almodóvar has become one of the world's most prominent film directors as of late. Films like Talk to Her and All About My Mother have made him a household name in America, a rare feat for a non-English language film maker. Now he has made his most controversial film yet by taking on the church and the hypocrisy he sees as destroying it.

Surprisingly, La Mala Educación is probably the most normal, accessible film Almodóvar has ever made. In fact, it's even a little mundane. While the director does manage to put his distinctive stamp on the film through his unique narrative method, the film remains fairly straight forward. All twists are logical and fairly foreseeable. There is little to confuse here besides reading subtitles.

The story is descent enough and I don't want to give too much away as there is some pleasure in seeing how it unfolds. Suffice it to say that it deals with abuse within the church and the way that has ruined lives. However I don't feel that he offers us anything new with La Mala Educación. Maybe that is where the film looses my interest.

In the end, the film's real pleasure comes from its star. Gael Garcia Bernal has demonstrated that he is a strong actor despite his devastating good looks. In fact there is something for everyone here as he appears in La Mala Educación as both genders and one must ask oneself if he is more beautiful as a man or as a woman. However it isn't just Bernal's physical presence which makes him such a force on the screen, it's the way he embodies a difficult and complicated character. He has that "it" quality that draws audiences into cinemas.

I will look forward to the next Almodóvar film but even more so I eagerly await Bernal's next performance.

Review By: Collin Smith

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