Ma Ma, film review: ‘Cancer movie starring Penelope Cruz makes you scoff and sniffle’

PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 June 2016

Penelope Cruz as Magda in Ma Ma

Penelope Cruz as Magda in Ma Ma


The cancer film is a film that I can’t see a need for.

There’s a fairly strong chance you’re going to experience it for real – why would you need to go through a vicarious rehearsal?

So when Ma Ma started with a doctor (Etxeandia) prodding anxiously around Penelope Cruz’s right breast, I winced greatly (I have never really got over Miss Ellie’s mastectomy on Dallas).

Ma Ma though is a cancer film with ambitions; it’s reshaping the boundaries of the cancer film.

As such, it’s a movie that will provoke scoffs and sniffles in equal measure.

Medem and Cruz’s aim is to make a film about life, to be upbeat without being sentimental.

Everything looks bright, white and clean. Cruz’s prognosis is bleak but the events around her play out like a fantasy.

On the day of the diagnosis she is linked by tragedy to the man who will be the love of her remaining life, Arturo (Tosar) .

He is a scout for Real Madrid, and spots her son (Planell) as a potential footballer – only to then get a call from the hospital who tell him that his wife and child have been involved in a serious car accident.

From there the story plays out almost as wish fulfillment fantasy.

Everything is clean and white, everybody is good and helpful and thoughtful, and her medical care is exceptional – her doctor is infinitely concerned, sings to her, and turns up on a holiday beach to examine her and then sing to her, again, a little ditty about how brilliant she is.

And she didn’t even go private.

Rating: 3/5 stars


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

Arsenal fans can celebrate after midfielder Leah Williamson signed a long-term contract with the club.

International breaks are rarely welcomed with open arms by fans who miss their Arsenal fix – but for football lovers this week is serving up some tasty ties with 14 players from the club set to be amongst the action. Find out more with Rosie Tudball’s comprehensive round-up.

Per Mertesacker has given a number of young fans with Down’s syndrome a day to remember as part of Arsenal in the Community’s excellent work.


Leyton Orient face a crucial game at home to Woking in the National League with safety still not secured.

A mental health charity off Mare Street is appealing for runners to take on the Hackney Half in the wake of government cuts.


This is an extract from Phil Vasili’s Walter Tull biography ‘1888 to 1918’ published by London League Publications

Justin Edinburgh’s team host fellow strugglers Woking on Saturday looking to earn their first victory on home soil since Boxing Day

The family of the man stabbed to death at a St Patrick’s Day party in Homerton have described the devastation of having to tell his two young daughters their “daddy is gone”.


To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists