Neddless to say, the talented Spanish actress Penelope Cruz is gorgeous on screen. She stars in films that carry a delightfully deep mix of comedy, romance and tragedy. Many of the plots have a literary background narrative. My favorites, listed below, are good enough to watch more than once.
Elegy is an adaptation of Philip Roth's The Dying Animal. Consuela is an attractive Cuban-American student to David, her college professor and many years her senior. Their relationship, though sexual, has a promising foundation in philosophy and art, but that ultimately may not be enough to hold their vastly different lives together.
Los abrazos rotas This tragic-comedy depicts an aspiring actress's ruinous relationship with a controlling old man and her pursuit of true love with a novelist named Harry Caine. What makes this film brilliant is its unfolding, backwards and fragmented, the various pieces only fitting together through reflection at the very end.
Vanilla Sky In this ground-breaking science-fiction tale, a cocky, handsome and extremely wealthy business magnate loses his footing over a humble and carefree woman. Soon after he pursues her, his vanity is literally shattered due to a car accident. The story becomes progressively more foreboding - and intriguing - from there on out.
Volver portrays a touching family from Madrid, complete with soap-opera like drama and a funny take on Spain's local taboos and superstitions.