Take My Eyes
Time Out says
Oscar voters aren’t the only awards group that sometimes values noble intentions over artistry. This relentlessly preachy battered-housewife drama—winner of the Best Film Goya for 2003—seems to assume that viewers need to be dealt with as forcibly as abusers. The movie opens with Pilar (Marull) leaving Antonio (Tosar), her irrationally jealous and violent husband. She takes a job as a museum guide; he goes into therapy. Over the objections of Pilar’s sister (Pea), soon they’re back together, and predictably, the psychological and physical torment begins anew.
The title refers to a line during a sex scene—a woefully misguided homage to Contempt—in which Pilar catalogs her body parts and asks if Antonio will have them. The none-too-subtle idea is that Pilar considers herself an object, and that in order for her to break free of the relationship, it’s imperative that she change that mind-set—the way her long-suffering mother never could. Curiously, Pilar and Antonio’s own child is pushed to the sidelines whenever his presence might complicate Pilar’s decision. But with only so much story to tell, director and co-writer Icar Bollan throws in liberal helpings of abuse-therapy scenes, allowing Antonio (and us) to be lectured about anger management. If they had a Goya for Most Socially Conscious Instructional Film, Take My Eyes would be a lock. (Opens Fri; see Index for venues.)—Ben Kenigsberg