Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Release Date: 1988

R |1 hr 28 min

Plot Summary

When Pepa Marcos' (Carmen Maura) lover Ivan (Fernando Guillén) suddenly leaves her without any explanation, she embarks on a strange journey to discover why. On the way she meets a variety of eccentric characters, including Ivan's son from a previous relationship (Antonio Banderas), his fiancee Marissa (Rossy de Palma) and a Shiite terrorist cell who have been secretly holding her best friend Candela (María Barranco) hostage. It's a film noir take on the romantic comedy.

Cast: Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, María Barranco, Rossy de Palma, Fernando Guillén Cuervo, Kiti Manver, Chus Lampreave

Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Genres: Comedy drama

Production Co: El Deseo S.A.

Keywords: Offbeat, Amusing, 1980s, Playful, Mystery, Rescue, Pursuit, Best friend

Ratings & Reviews

  • 100
    Jay CarrBoston Globe

    The women here aren't afraid to get extreme about love, but in the end, you sense that they are too sound to destroy themselves over the worthless man they have allowed to personify it. That's what lifts Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown from the amusing to the sublime. [23 Dec 1988, p.23]

  • 88
    Michael WilmingtonChicago Tribune

    With Maura delivering an explosive performance, Almodovar presents Pepa's tale with real gusto--with vibrant colors, gaudy personality, mad jokes and a sexiness that erupts off the screen. show more

  • 100
    TV Guide Magazine

    The film is flushed with bright light and cartoon hues, nicely accenting the fast-paced stew of incidents. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Best Leading Actress
Los Premios Goya (1988)
Winner Best Original Screenplay
Los Premios Goya (1989)
Nominated Best Sound
Los Premios Goya (1989)
Winner Best Film
Los Premios Goya (1989)
Winner Best Editing
Los Premios Goya (1989)
Nominated Foreign Language Film
Nominated Best Cinematography
Los Premios Goya (1989)
Winner Volpi cup for the best female performance
Mostra del Cinema di Venezia (1988)
Nominated Best Original Song
Los Premios Goya (1989)
Nominated Best Director
Los Premios Goya (1989)
Nominated Best Foreign Language Film
Nominated Film Not in the English Language
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1989)