Talk to Her

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Talk to Her
Talk to Her poster.png
US theatrical release poster
Directed byPedro Almodóvar
Written byPedro Almodóvar
Produced byAgustín Almodóvar
Michel Ruben
StarringJavier Cámara
Darío Grandinetti
Leonor Watling
Geraldine Chaplin
Rosario Flores
CinematographyJavier Aguirresarobe
Edited byJosé Salcedo
Music byAlberto Iglesias
Distributed byWarner Sogefilms
Release date
  • 15 March 2002 (2002-03-15) (Spain)
  • 30 April 2002 (2002-04-30) (Telluride)
Running time
112 minutes
Box office$64.8 million

Talk to Her (Spanish: Hable con ella) is a 2002 Spanish drama written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, and starring Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Geraldine Chaplin, and Rosario Flores. The film follows two men who form an unlikely friendship as they care for two women who are both in comas.

The film was a critical and commercial success, winning the BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film while Almodóvar won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. It is now generally regarded as one of the best films of the 2000s.[1][2][3]


The story unfolds in flashbacks, giving details of two separate relationships that become intertwined with each other.

During a performance of Café Müller, a dance-theatre piece by Pina Bausch, Benigno Martín and Marco Zuluaga cross paths, but the two men are no more than strangers. Still, Benigno notices that Marco cries.

Marco is a journalist and travel writer who happens to see a TV interview with Lydia González, a famous matador. He thinks that an article on her would be interesting and, on the instructions of his editor, he contacts her in a bar, where she asks him to take her to her house. As they talk, she elaborates on the fact that she broke up with her boyfriend "el Niño de Valencia", another matador, something that has been all over the tabloids. As Marco confesses that he knows nothing of bullfighting and that he is a journalist, she becomes angry and leaves his car without saying a word. As he drives off, he hears a scream inside her house and stops; Lydia rushes off and climbs back into his car: she asks him to kill a snake that she found in her house. He does so and comes out of the house crying. With that new confidence established between them, they become friends and, later on, lovers. Marco attends a wedding in Toledo and is surprised to find Lydia there too, since she had said that she did not want to go. The wedding turns out to be that of Marco's former fiancée, Ángela, who had the same phobia of snakes as Lydia; Marco was very much in love with Ángela and had a very hard time getting over her (which was the reason for his constant crying over things he could not share with her). Lydia says that she has something important to say, but she prefers to wait until after the bullfight that afternoon; but she is gored and becomes comatose. Marco does not leave her side at the hospital and finally befriends Benigno, who recognizes him from the dance-theatre performance. Marco is told by the doctors that people in a coma never wake up and that, while there are miracle-stories of people who have come back, he should not keep his hopes high.

Benigno is a personal nurse and caregiver for Alicia Roncero, a beautiful dance student, who lies in a coma, but Benigno sees her as alive; he talks his heart out to her, and brings her all kinds of dancing and silent black and white film mementos. As it turns out, Benigno had been obsessed with Alicia for a while, before she was in a coma, since his apartment is in front of the dance studio where she practiced every day. At first his obsession was only from a distance, since Benigno was taking care of his possessive mother, who seemed to be immobile. For that reason, he became a nurse and also a beautician. Free to move about after his mother dies, he finally picks up the courage to talk to Alicia, after she dropped her wallet on the street. As they walk together to her house, they talk about her discovery of silent black and white films and about dancing. When she walks into her building, Benigno notices that she lives in the house of Dr. Roncero, who is a psychiatrist. Benigno makes an appointment to see the doctor and talks about his unresolved bereavement grief over his mother. But it is all a ruse to gain access to the apartment, where he steals a hair-clip from Alicia's room. That night, Alicia is run over by a car and becomes comatose. By mere chance, Benigno is assigned to Alicia, much to the surprise of her father. But since Benigno's services are the best, he hires him and a colleague permanently to tend for Alicia. Benigno also tells Dr. Roncero that he is gay, possibly so that Alicia's father will not suspect his love for her, or possibly so that he will not question Benigno's particular attachment to her.

Benigno keeps telling Marco that he should talk to Lydia because, despite the fact that they are in a coma, women understand and react to men's problems. Eventually, Marco learns from "el Niño de Valencia" that Lydia and he had decided to be together again, and that she intended to tell Marco. So Marco finds himself alone again. As he is about to leave, he comes into Alicia's room, looking for Benigno, but he instead finds himself opening his heart out to her, despite his scepticism over Benigno's theories. Benigno and Marco leave the hospital and, in the parking lot, Benigno tells Marco of his plans to marry Alicia: Marco is taken aback, telling his friend that Alicia is basically dead and cannot express her will in any manner. But Benigno does not hear any reason. During a routine review at the hospital, the supervisors notice that Alicia has missed several periods; since this is a common occurrence with people in a coma, they do not think twice over it. In reality, Alicia was raped months before and is pregnant, Benigno is the main suspect and is later sent to prison.

Marco has left Spain to write a book about travelling. Months later, in Jordan, he reads in a newspaper that Lydia has finally died, having never awakened from her coma. He phones the hospital, looking for Benigno, only to hear that Benigno does not work there any more. Marco manages to talk to another nurse whom he had befriended; she tells him that Benigno is now in prison for the alleged rape of Alicia. Marco returns to Spain and visits Benigno, who asks him to hire a new lawyer and find out what happened to Alicia. Marco stays in Benigno's apartment and sees that Alicia has awakened during or after delivering a stillborn baby. Following the urging of Benigno's lawyer, Marco does not tell Benigno about Alicia's unexpected recovery. Desperate, Benigno writes a farewell letter to Marco and takes a large quantity of pills, to try to "escape" into a coma, thus reuniting with Alicia. He dies of an overdose.

Meanwhile, Alicia has begun rehabilitation to recover her ability to walk and dance. The film ends in the same theatre where it began, where Marco and Alicia meet by chance.



Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a "Certified Fresh" approval rating of 91% based on reviews from 135 critics, and an average rating of 8.10/10. The website's consensus states: "Another masterful, compassionate work from Pedro Almodóvar".[5] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 86 out of 100, based on reviews from 34 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[6]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it 4 out of 4 and wrote: "Combines improbable melodrama (gored bullfighters, comatose ballerinas) with subtly kinky bedside vigils and sensational denouements, and yet at the end, we are undeniably touched."[7] A.O. Scott of the New York Times named Talk to Her "The best film of the year".[8]

The film grossed $9,285,469 in the United States and $41,716,081 internationally for a worldwide total of $51,001,550.[9]


Talk to Her wasn't submitted as Spain's pick for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Mondays in the Sun was selected instead.[citation needed]



In 2005, Time magazine film critics Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel included Talk to Her in their list of the All-TIME 100 Greatest Movies.[2] Paul Schrader also placed the film at #46 on his canon of the 60 greatest films.[3] Sight & Sound magazine included the film in it's list of "30 great films of the 2000s".[10] In a 2016 BBC poll, critics voted the film the 28th greatest since 2000.[11]


  1. ^ "TSPDT - 21st Century (Full List)". 7 March 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b Corliss, Richard (23 January 2012). "Talk to Her | All-TIME 100 Movies | Entertainment". Time. Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b Anderson, Jeffrey M. (14 November 2006). "Paul Schrader's Film Canon". Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Pedro Almodovar talks about Pina Bausch's influence on his films". Sadler's Wells. 2005. Retrieved 27 July 2015. When I finished writing Talk To Her and looked at Pina's face again, with her eyes closed, and at how she was dressed in a flimsy slip, her arms and hands outstretched, surrounded by obstacles (wooden tables and chairs), I had no doubt that it was the image which best represented the limbo in which my story's protagonists lived.
  5. ^ "Talk to Her (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  6. ^ Talk to Her at Metacritic
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (25 December 2002). "Talk to Her movie review & film summary (2002)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  8. ^ "Film: the year in review". New York Times. 29 December 2002.
  9. ^ Talk to Her at Box Office Mojo
  10. ^ "30 great films of the 2000s". 17 January 2020.
  11. ^ "The 21st century's 100 greatest films". BBC. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2016.

External links[edit]