Raimunda (Cruz) has a full plate in front of her. Still saddened by the death of her mother and father so many years ago, she works as a janitor while her unemployed and unmotivated husband lies about their Madrid apartment, sometimes pestering their teenage daughter, Paula (Cobo). Plus she cares for her elderly aunt (Lampreave), who seems to be going senile, claiming she sees, and speaks to, Raimunda's long-dead mother on a daily basis. Volver, which means "to return," won best screenplay (Pedro Almodóvar) at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. (Jack Kelley)
Special features are the same as on the DVD reviewed in Issue 120 and include commentary with Director Pedro Almodóvar and Actress Penélope Cruz, an eight-minute making-of featurette, three interviews (Almodóvar at ten minutes, Cruz at five, and Maura at eight), an 18-minute tribute to Penélope, a photo and a poster gallery, previews, and up-front ads.
While the MPEG-2-encoded 2.35:1 Blu-ray Disc can look good, with vibrant, natural colors and decently captured details, contrast can be too high on the white end, which can wash out fleshtones and give everything an unnaturally bright look. In night scenes, contrast seems to be better balanced, leading to much more natural fleshtones. Source element artifacts can be noticed at times and details in the backgrounds can be lost. There are times when black levels are too high, leading to a flat-looking image. (Danny Richelieu)
The uncompressed linear PCM 5.1-channel soundtrack features well-recorded dialogue indoors, but outdoors it is too obviously close-miked, with poor spatial integration. The character is also overly bright, which can become distracting. Both are heightened by the uncompressed encoding. (Danny Richelieu)