Movie Review: Unconscious

By Joan K. Widdifield, Psy.D
Movie Magazine International
UNCONSCIOUS is a bawdy and mesmerizing period comedy set in 1913 Barcelona. Nine-months pregnant, Alma (Lenore Watling) walks into her home to learn that her prominent psychoanalyst husband, Leon (Alex Brendemuhl) is leaving her, and his practice. Panicked by his unexpected departure she enlists her sisterís husband Ė also a psychiatrist - the dispassionate, repressed Salvador (Luis Tosar), to help her solve the mystery of Leonís sudden leave-taking. Salvador agrees, even though he sees it could be trouble for him.

After an accidental hypnosis, it becomes clear that underneath his calm exterior, Salvador is burning with passion for Alma, and that he married her sister, the ostensibly sexually inhibited Olivia (Nuria Prims), only to be near her. The only clues Alma and Salvador have is Leonís manuscript on hysteria and female sexuality; they track down the four patients whose case studies are described in the document, leading them to uncover startling discoveries. Nothing is as it seems to be. The world is seen through the lens of Freudís theories. Freud even shows up, along with Dr. Alzheimer Ė who can't seem to remember anything.

Itís hard to keep your eyes off Lenore Watling because of her expressive face and sumptuous wardrobe. Watling is a veteran actress who was in two recent Almadovar films, BAD EDUCATION and TALK TO HER. The casting is terrific. Alma and Luis Tosarís Salvador play off each other well in this mystery cum romance. Mercedes Sampietro excels as the drunken housekeeper who harbors secrets.

UNCONSCIOUS was an official selection at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival, and a Grand Jury Prize Nominee at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. It also won several nominations at the 2005 Goya Awards. Screenwriter/director Joaquin Oristrell has a keen sense for comedy. Intricately woven and wickedly funny, the brisk and singular UNCONSCIOUS builds layer upon layer and delivers a satisfying conclusion.
More Information:
Unconscious (English Title), Writer/director: Joaquin Oristrell, with Lenore Watling, Luis Tosar, Alex Brendemuhl, Mercedes Sampietro