A stark and emotionally honest portrayal of one woman’s battle with breast cancer, Julio Medem‘s Ma ma will have you falling in love with Penélope Cruz, such is the tenacity and grace of her performance, only to have your swollen heart ultimately shattered. Cruz has been a wonderful actress for years but this shows she’s still got it, and in buckets and spades, albeit still at her very best in her native tongue.
An almost clinical suppression of emotion is embued by Kiko de la Rica clean framing. Each shot is achingly, beautifully, composed yet always crisply realistic and never deliberately sentimental; when the powerful emotive moments surface, their impact is subsequently redoubled.
In the face of an ever-heightening and all-pervading addiction to superfluous silver screen spectacular, a foreign language offering that deals with a very real world subject matter, and does so in the most honest way, really deserves as much recognition as it can get.
Ma ma is a flawless film, heart-breakingly beautiful and as human as they come. Add it to your list. If nothing else, because Penelope Cruz is simply extraordinary.