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Ma Ma


Stars: Penelope Cruz, Luis Tosar, Asier Etxeandia, Teo Planell, Alex Brendemuhl, Silvia Abascal, Anna Jimenez

Director: Julio Medem

To describe this slushy soap opera as a simply a weepie would be like describing the Niagara Falls as a mere trickle. It is so sugary that diabetes sufferers considering seeing it would be well advised to have a large hypodermic syringe filled to the brim with insulin conveniently to hand.

Things are not going well for Spanish teacher Penelope Cruz. She has lost her job in Madrid and her wayward academic husband Alex Brendemuhl has left her and their young son for a sexual fling.

And that’s just the beginning of the Madrid mother’s mounting misfortunes.

When she makes a too-long postponed visit to gynaecologist Asier Etxeandia she learns she has stage 3 breast cancer and has to face grueling chemotherapy followed by losing her hair, undergoing a mastectomy and then, inevitably, death…

Fortunately, Cruz (who, as one of the film’s producers must surely have known all about the tank of treacle into which she was about to jump) gives a performance that, in spite of the storyline clichés surrounding her at every turn, is powerful, moving and, against all odds, emotionally true.

Alan Frank

Spain/France 2016. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Colour.
107 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 16 Oct 2016

DVD review