While Penelope Cruz is more than comfortable in throwaway roles in Zoolander 2 and The Brothers Grimsby, it used to be you could count on her going back home for her most substantial performances. But she hasn't really had a great Spanish-language film since 2006's Volver, which makes the arrival of her next film Ma Ma, all the more exciting.
Directed by Julio Medem (Sex & Lucia, a must-see by the way), Ma Ma stars Cruz as Magda, an unemployed teacher who goes through all kinds of life adversity, including a breast cancer diagnosis. Here's the official synopsis:
Academy Award®-winning actress and producer Penélope Cruz delivers an extraordinarily emotional performance in ma ma, the newest film from acclaimed director Julio Medem (SEX AND LUCÍA). Honoring the high melodrama of Pedro Almodóvar and Douglas Sirk, ma ma follows Magda (Cruz) as she experiences tragedies and miracles alike. Just as Magda is diagnosed with breast cancer, she meets Arturo (Luis Tosar), a devoted husband and father in the midst of unspeakable loss. Their chance encounter leads both down a path of strength, grace, love, and rebirth.
The film debuted at TIFF last year and reviews were mixed at best, but it's good to see Cruz back playing a strong, resilient woman again and not just some sex pot. Ma Ma opens stateside on May 27th.