Mariano Burroso's taut drama "Todas las mujeres" [Eng. Title: All the Women] is a character-study of its protagonist Nacho (Eduard Fernández), made through his interactions with the women in his life over the course of a single day. Originally made as a six-part series for TV, Burroso has condensed its material for the big-screen and presents the film as a riveting conversation-piece instead.
Nacho, a vet working in his father-in-law's farm, had tried to smuggle five stud-bulls into Portugal after stealing them from the farm as part of an elopement-strategy conjured up by his twenty year old intern and lover Ona (Michelle Jenner). But things fail to go as planned after the truck transporting the bulls overturns following an accident, killing two of them. The driver and his mate are already in police custody, and it's perhaps only a matter of time before the trail leads to Nacho, whose wife Laura (Lucía Quintana) incidentally, had also left him following a separate row the same morning.
After sending Ona away to look for their Portuguese contact, Nacho gets in touch with ex-girlfriend Marga (María Morales), now a lawyer, and after explaining what happened, proposes that she deliver a letter essentially blackmailing his father-in-law. Whilst agreeing to act as his lawyer, she refuses to perform anything illegal. Their conversation will also reveal a bit of their back-story, and her hurt following their unceremonious break-up.
Marga suggests that he confess to his father-in-law and compensate him for the loss. Nacho has no money of his own, and is forced to go begging to his mother (Petra Martínez), with whom he's had a frosty relationship. Their almost-formal meeting will unveil Nacho's immaturity, and his continued dependence on her even as an adult.
Unable to draw the courage to face up to his father-in-law, Nacho calls on Carmen (Marta Larralde), his wife's sister with whom he gets along well, to act as conduit. Apart from advising him not to give compensation money to her dad, who she believes exploited Nacho all these years by paying him far less than the previous vet, they also end up having sex.
By the time we reach the heart of the film, Nacho's character has already been established as an immature, impulsive, tactless, and selfish person who deserves little sympathy. Typically getting ahead of himself and assuming he'd one day have to face trial, he calls on the services of psychologist Andrea (Nathalie Poza) and asks her to declare him to have suffered temporary insanity, to help justify his crime. Their ensuing talk is eventful, witty, and absorbing thanks to Andrea's common sense observations, sprouted in a manner that a clouded Nacho would begin to see and understand.
The film's strength may lie in its engaging screenplay, but it is also well supported by its main cast, particularly Nathalie Poza and Marta Larralde (Eduard Fernández, while good, was perhaps doing too much than needed with his character). Having almost lost interest in Spanish cinema after a spate of mediocre works recently, the film turned out to be a pleasant exception, and for this reason, it is Recommended Viewing..!
Amazon.es DVD Link [PAL]
The Nudity: Marta Larralde
Unlike some of her other films, lovely Marta Larralde gets to play a character with some depth in this film. She's also naked in film for longer than I'd seen before, appearing nude in a sex and the following post-coital scene, during which her character suggests Nacho not to pay her father any compensation for stealing his livestock.