November 15th 2013
Pedro Almodovar’s Talk to Her diverges from his previous work in pitting the audience with a more delicate and humanizing perspective of men, as they wrestle with their emotions in the absence of their stronger female counterparts. Alicia a dancer and Lydia a matador, are represented with a greater deal of strength, whether it being in command of one’s body or in the dangerous tradition of bullfighting. The men are literally made vulnerable by no longer being the imposing figures.
Benigno is male nurse who has been taking care of his bedridden mother for the majority of his life. Benigno is part of the middle class economic status because his need for money was not mentioned once throughout the film. However driven by the need to take care of his sick mother he became a certified nurse and a beautician. After his mother’s death Benigno decides to work in a hospital as a nurse, that is how he came to be the caretaker of the love of his life. As a male nurse Benigno’s sexual orientation is constantly being questioned. Aside from the fact that he is a male nurse and a beautician we see Benigno do certain things that would deem him as a “homosexual.” In one scene Marco is in Lydia’s room and Benigno comes he looks at Marco and sees his has something on his shoulder he then proceeds to take it off and fix Marco’s color in what seems as a sexual way. Not only does the viewer question Benigno’s sexuality but other characters as well. In another scene Alicia’s father was watching Benigno massage Alicia’s leg and asks Benigno if he is gay and Benigno responds “of course I’m gay.”
In Habla Con Ella Benigno is the most complex character; it’s as if throughout the whole film he is trying to find out who he truly is. As a viewer we know what he is in love with Alicia but he tells Alicia’s father that he is gay. That tells us that not only is he confused about his sexual orientation but it seems as if he is not sure about his love either. Benigno can be classified as “sexually Immature” because he says he is still a virgin. Benigno’s sexuality also ties in with his gender, unlike the average male he takes on many roles that women would normally do. In one scene you Benigno cutting and caring for Alicia’s hair as if it was his hair. One could say Benigno’s gender role is out of the norm but as we see today many males are taking on female roles so it can be considered normal for him to behave that way. In light of all this Benigno’s co-workers are constantly putting him down in one scene we see a group of female nurses sitting at a lunch table talking about his sexual orientation. However none of them seemed to have actual problems with him, they were all very courteous and professional towards him. Although, in the scene where Alicia’s father asks Benigno if he is gay I think if Benigno would have said “no,” Alicia’s father would have requested another nurse to take care of Alicia.
Alicia is a very important character in this film, at the begging we know that she is a very talented ballet dancer but for the rest of the movie she is in a coma until the very end. Not much dialogue is given to Alicia due to her coma but we know that her father is a therapist and she seems to come from a family that is higher than middle class but not eccentrically rich. I think Alicia is used as a symbol in the movie. Perhaps life and death or love and break ups, but I think what she really symbolizes is the fact that you could have something right in front of you but not being able to do anything with it. Such as when it comes to Benigno and love he has Alicia right in front of him, he is able to touch her, talk to her and even spend time with her but at the same time it is like she is not even there.
Lyida on the other hand is a female bullfighter who was once married to another bullfighter but is now dating Marco. During one of her bullfighting events