Published Feb 01, 2000Tennessee Williams' bitter tragedy A Streetcar Named Desire seeps through the very soul of Pedro Almodóvar's latest movie, All About My Mother. In a way, Blanche's fatal mistake is also that of Manuela (Cecilia Roth), a nurse who works in an organ donor clinic in Madrid. Part of her job is to act out the role of a family member who has just lost a loved one so that doctors can practice approaching her about organ donation. On his 17th birthday, she takes her son (Eloy Azorín), a budding author, to a production of Streetcar. After the play, while attempting to get an autograph from the lead actress (Marisa Paredes), her son is killed in a car accident. Then, as happens throughout the play, life imitates art, and Manuela finds herself approached about donating her son's heart. She reads his notebook and finds that, throughout his life, half his heart was already missing because she had kept the identity of his father hidden from him. Manuela then sets out to Barcelona in search of her son's father, from whom she had turned away when she got pregnant because he was a transsexual. Manuela tries to make amends for her mistakes by finding her husband and telling him about his son. This movie is about women of all sorts (including men who would be women), and is populated by Blanches, Stellas and Bette Davises. The women, though troubled, are strong, taking on roles for themselves and then becoming the very thing they portray, blurring the line between the artificial and real. All About My Mother is a somber and poignant tale that is mercifully punctuated throughout with laughs.