|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||Ma Ma|
|Production country:||Spanien/Frankreich 2015|
|Running time:||Approx. 122 min.|
|Rated:||From 12 years|
Although her marriage has fallen apart and she is about to lose her job, Magda (Penélope Cruz) has not yet lost her courage to face life. However, it is put to the test when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. But already for her little son Magda wants to fight. Despite aggressive chemo, she loses a breast but keeps her life. During treatment, she meets Arturo (Luis Tosar), who has just lost his wife and daughter in an accident. Through their pain, Magda and Arturo find each other and find something like a second chance at happiness and hope for a future together. But this new happiness is shaken to its foundations again after only a short time.
With his new film Ma Ma, director Julio Medem (Lucia and the Sex) devotes himself to such universal themes as love, life and death. Carried by a magnificent Penélope Cruz, the film has some wonderful moments and tremendous emotional punch to offer, especially in the first hour. There are scenes where you want to cry along with the characters, where you feel sorry for them but also empathize with their hope, their joy for life and their love. This first half of the movie offers an emotional roller coaster ride, the likes of which you haven't experienced in a long time. And when the story takes an extremely dramatic turn after previously heading for a happy ending, you can already see the next big wave of emotions coming your way.
But then something strange happens. Medem fills his story with abstruse coincidences, extreme lengths and unnecessary subplots, so that just no stirring emotionality, but only yawning boredom spreads. Even an oh-so-provocative scene in a swingers' club, which was cut out in Spain and can be seen exclusively in Germany, seems anything but exciting. Yes, it may have some sense of the strangely spiritual progression of the story. But it's so contrived that it just doesn't work. The first hour of the film is full of so many authentic, human moments that viewers can relate to and be deeply touched by. In contrast, the labored plot construct of the second half takes on almost overblown soap traits and undoes everything that was built up with the intense beginning.
Good actors, some beautiful imagery and a life-affirming message are unfortunately not enough to make up for the weak second half of the film. As good as Cruz in particular is, and as much as you as a viewer wish her happiness, love, and most importantly, health, the staging leaves you cold towards the end. Thus, Ma Ma is a movie that starts off extremely strong, only to let up quite a bit. And that's why in the end there is only a disappointed: With clear cutbacks just worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp