Film review The Human Voice

Tilda Swinton in Almodovar's The Human Voice

Tilda Swinton in Almodovar's The Human Voice - Credit: Archant

Almodovar’s lockdown project is a half hour English language monologue about Tilda Switon’s jilted lover that feels like an exercise in acting for acting’s sake

It’s freely adapted from a piece by Jean Cocteau, Tilda Swinton’s in it and it’s A Film By Almodovar, the artist who mislaid his first name, so you can expect it to be buried under enough gush that people will be prepared to shell out for a half-hour monologue.

Swinton is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, living in a flat decorated in the bright, primary colours of one of his early films from the Pedro days.

Ah, but it’s actually a film set, in the middle of a sound stage. She buys an axe and then takes a phone call from the lover who has ended things after four years.

A lot of people have used lockdown as a chance to try something new. Almodovar has used it as an opportunity to make his first film in English.


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It glides pleasantly past, looks tremendous but, let’s be honest, when it comes to writing half-hour monologues for female performers that Cocteau was no Alan Bennett, and it all looks like an exercise in acting for acting’s sake.

2/5 stars

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Directed by Almodovar. Starring Tilda Swinton. 30 mins. + pre-recorded Q&A with Swinton, Almodovar and Mark Kermode. Running time: 45 mins.

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