Manuela (Cecilia Roth) is a hard-working, weariless nurse from Argentina who has been assigned donor organ transplants in the Ramón y Cajal Hospital from Madrid. She is dedicated heart and soul to her profession, but is also a single mother to her teenager soon, Esteban (Eloy Azorín). The latter is a talented writer who hopes that he will one day become famous. But on his seventeenth birthday, the young man attempts to take the autograph of renowned actress, Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes), and gets hit by a car in the process. The boy dies on the spot and Manuela is struck by grief, self-hatred and despair. Even more grueling is that the woman has to agree to having her son’s heart transplanted and sent to a patient in A Coruña. After ensuring that the man receives her child’s organ, Manuela quits her job and travels to Barcelona in hopes of tracking down Esteban’s father, Lola (Toni Cantó), a transvestite who works in the area.
Having arrived in the city, the former nurse meets a variety of witty and intriguing characters, including Hermana Rosa (Penélope Cruz), a nun who takes care of battered prostitutes, an old friend, Agrado (Antonia San Juan), who is a transgender sex worker, a lady who is addicted to drugs, Nina Cruz (Candela Peña), as well as the actress who indirectly lead to her son’s accident.
“Almodóvar loses some of the cockeyed extremism that colors his earlier work to fully embrace his characters in All About My Mother. He extends it as a loving hug to anyone who has ever felt they were faking it.”
— Austin Chronicle
“The whole of the film is a tapestry of female-centric insights and allusions, both comic and tragic: Most visionary is Manuela’s dizzying journey though the tunnels leading to and from Barcelona, which evoke a passage through a vaginal canal.”
— Slant Magazine
Did You Know?
The film’s initial plot originates from Pedro Almodóvar’s earlier 1995 motion picture, The Flower of My Secret. The latter depicted the arduous training that young students go through in order to persuade grieving family members to donate their loved one’s organs for various transplants. All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) includes a series of references to theatre, well-known plays and filmmaking. One of them is the show Manuela’s son is attending before he is killed, the adaptation of Williams Tennessee’s A Street Car Named Desire. Moreover, the mother performs that play twenty years prior and through it meets her husband, Esteban, who later becomes the transvestite star, Lola. Review our Gay Themed Films Here