Review: Pain and Glory

The heroin takes you..

One of director Salvador Mallo's (Antonio Banderas) movies is being given a re-release in Madrid 30 years later. He had a falling out with one of his actors, Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia) but he attempts to make amends with him. Salvador is very sickly, suffering from many different illnesses and when he meets up with Alberto he takes up heroin to cope. He then reflects on everything that brought him to this point.

Banderas is getting a ton of Oscar buzz for this performance, which was the main selling point for me. And he's very good. All the actors here are, but overall I just did not like this.

Mallo's life stories are wildly uneven. Some of his early scenes as a child are interesting, then we'd go back to reality and his new found love of drugs and the film would just stop right in its tracks. The best part by far is when an ex-boyfriend visits him and I thought to myself "I'd like to see this explored more" then immediately followed that thought with "Oh wait, then I'd be here longer." 

It's strange because everything else I've seen from director Pedro Almodóvar has been really engaging but this just did not resonate with me. I was quite happy to leave the theater afterwards.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "I don't know why they love me so much in Iceland."


  1. I do want to see this mainly because it's Almodovar and it's his version of 8 1/2 as it kind of reflects on where he's been as a filmmaker and artist and using Antonio Banderas as a version of Almodovar in the film.

  2. Ugh I was gonna watch that for Banderas but it's been probably a decade since I liked Almodovar's movie

    1. Yeah this wasn't for me. I liked The Skin I Live in well enough, but I'm not well versed in his filmography. I think I've only seen 3 1/2 (that 1/2 being Volver, which I don't think I finished)


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