Antonio Banderas, Naked, Young and Gay. LAW OF DESIRE.
Jul 2, 2010 (Updated Dec 14, 2010)
Review by Mark Vaughan
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Incredibly good twisted movie about desire, and the lengths it can drive us.
Cons:None. Homosexual content may offend some.
The Bottom Line: A fabulous movie about gay romance and obsession. Antonio Banderas Naked, Full-Frontal. Woot!
The Laws of Desire (La Ley Del Deseo) (1987) Written and Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Recommend this product?
Famed Director Pablo Quintero (Eusebio Poncela) finds his life infinitely complicated by his sexual disorientation. Pablo loves Juan Bermúdez (Miguel Molina) a beautiful boy who is not gay enough to love him back. They have sex because Juan wants Pablo to be happy (and probably, all the free cocaine and clothes have something to do with it as well) but Juan does not desire Pablo.
Pablo's sister, Tina (Carmen Maura) used to be his brother. Now Tina is raising her daughter Ada (Manuela Velasco). She is far less promiscuous than her brother; in fact, despite the media speculation about her exploits, she actually seems to have very little use for men.
Then, as Juan is heading to his sisters for the summer, a new wrinkle enters Pablo's life. Antonio (Antonio Banderas) is a young fan. Is he straight or gay? Does he know? Whatever the case, he is soon in Pablo's bed, learning what pleases him.
There torrid affair has just a few slight problems. Antonio is going home to his mothers for a few weeks, and wants Pablo to write using a woman's name. Mother is something of a snoop. And second, Pablo does not love him. Suddenly the director has a much greater appreciation for his young lover's position. You don't want to hurt the other person, but you don't return their desperate affections. However, while Pablo is a distant lover, trying to let his affair end gracefully, Antonio has other ideas. And Antonio is nuttier than squirrel poo. So when he meets Juan face to face things go too far.
How do you deal with someone who loves you enough to kill for you?
Almodóvar creates a tightly woven tapestry of gay romance, tawdry sex, drugs, frustrated desire spiced with family dysfunctions like abandonment and a dash of incest. Blend in identical shirts, snooping mothers, the police and set on frappe. Of course, and genius director can only do so much. That makes it fortunate he is also a genius writer. Add in a gifted Cinematographer, and brilliant actors, and it only gets better. Oh, and listen to the subtitled version; part of the beauty is the lovely lilt and cadence of the conversations; the emotional content carried through no matter the language barrier.
And the performances; There are three outstanding ones; Eusebio Poncela as the director. Filled with passion, but emotionally distant, one wonders how autobiographical his character is. I also wonder if he had to audition naked before Pedro selected him to play him.
Carmen Maura is brilliant as a transsexual father raising her daughter. Her love life is just as complicated as Pablo's, just a lot less cluttered. She brings a passion and a vulnerability to the role that just springs off the screen.
And of course there is Antonio Banderas. I have always loved this actor; he is the epitome of a Latin lover in my eyes, and his first words in this movie sent shivers down my spine. It is a slightly awkward performance compared to later work, however experience teaches this is not a bad thing for playing a first time gay romance. And he is gloriously naked, including full frontal. And that is why this is part of my library.
This review, like Antonio, is Lean-N-Mean at 555 words.
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