Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Written and Directed by Pedro Almodovar

If you’ve fallen before, it is easy to fall again and again for Pedro Almodovar. His works are always sumptuous and sincerely passionate, with strong female characters braving through emotional turmoil. His latest, BROKEN BEMBRACES, is certainly no different in terms of tone but Almodovar becomes his own worst enemy as he dives head first into a complicated plot that he barely manages to get out of.

Almodovar muse, Penelope Cruz, is a the top of her game, which is only more impressive when you consider that her character is essentially comprised of three different women. She is an actress playing a part in a movie but she also pretends when she comes home and plays the part of a doting wife to a controlling man she doesn’t love. The only time she can be herself is when she is in the arms of the director who is shooting the movie she is in. There is more than enough to work with there but Almodovar shoots in another ex-lover as well as troubled offspring and we haven’t even started talking about the movie within the movie within the movie. Almodovar is pushing himself visually but in order to get through to the other side of his own plot, he has to force some lengthy sequences that slow the film down significantly.

I was actually quite taken with BROKEN EMBRACES when I first saw it but I lost some interest the second time around and the BD extras, including a new short film from the director, did little to get that interest back. This is definitely not the film you want to use to introduce Almodovar to your friends. The traditional Almodovar tone is still intact and fans will forgive but unfortunately they may also forget.



Candice Frederick said...

thought it was not nearly as good as Volver, broken embraces flowed much like a soap opera to me. it was a bit too long, but kept my interest.

Black Sheep said...

I was not such a huge fan of Volver but you're right about this one .. it needed to be shorter and tighter.