Pain and Glory (2019) Review


*Original title – Dolor y gloria

Salvador Mallo is a film director and writer who is struggling with his current state of life. He looks back at his early choices and decisions which have influenced him and everything is about to come crashing down around him.


Salvador looks back at the relationship he had with his mother as a child and how the big move they made and living in what they called a cave influenced his life. Touching on his first love and what could well have been his only love falling apart when that was over. He is reunited with actor Alberto Crespo who starred in his most successful film 32 years earlier, they had not spoken since then as Salvador was not happy with the way he portrayed the character.

The start of a friendship between the pair would come at a very high cost when he is introduced to smoking heroin. Having already been told about his many illnesses both physical and mental this was something that he found as a way out. The only thing is though was it actually a way out? While smoking then flashbacks seemed to be more often and giving him those memories and left wondering just why certain things happened.

It was a rather heavy film to take at times, not really with the drug use as the way it was placed was not horrific. The way in which I guess we will all be able to relate at some point wondering if he made the right decisions and sometimes wishing things had worked out very differently. How different ages will become essential to how your life will work out in the end. Meeting a past lover and being able to remember that it ended for a reason. The emotion in that scene really was something else, maybe I watch too many romantic films and wanted to see that go in a happy ending. But then being reminded that life isn’t always a happy ending!

Salvador might not have actually been working in terms of filming anything, but he never stopped writing. Even if he didn’t finish everything. When Alberto comes across Addiction on his computer he begs Salvador to let him perform it. Something which was very powerful and very personal, so Salvador did not want everyone to know that he had written it. He eventually just wanted it out there.

Performance wise I felt Antonio Banderas was utterly outstanding throughout the film and Asier Flores playing the young Salvador was breathtaking as well. All of it working out so well to help towards the emotional stages we go through whilst watching this film. I was also very impressed with Asier Etxeandia who was very charismatic as Alberto.

A film that if Cineworld didn’t have it as an Unlimited Screening I would have missed. As even though they had those screenings on I am guessing it will not have a wide release in the UK, which is a shame really as this was a very engaging and thought provoking film. Considering it was very well received at Cannes you would hope this would help, I for one am very pleased I have gotten to watch this emotional drama.

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