Broken Embraces (2009)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

Original title:  Los Abrazos Rotos

Spain, 2009, , , , , , , .  Screenplay by Pedro Almodovar.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Pedro Almodovar’s genius arrow hits below his usual target in this involving but not quite compelling melodrama.  is undecipherable as a blind screenwriter who recounts, to his young assistant, a story of his younger days when, sighted and a successful screenwriter, he had a love affair with a sexy actress (Penelope Cruz).  She was the mistress of a ruthless millionaire, her personal involvement with him motivated by dire family circumstances and the need to succeed.

The plot is pure soap opera, showing off Almodovar’s familiar ability to take a Jackie Collins plot and mine all the rich emotion it could possibly have, including inspiration from daytime soap opera as well as from the likes of the films of Bunuel (shades of Belle De Jour and Viridiana abound).

He even includes inspiration from his own films, which fans will delight in, but his plotting goes on longer than necessary and the secrets revealed by the carefully peeled story are never quite as surprising or interesting as they promise to be.

Cruz is stunning in the lead, while the magnificent  shines in a rich supporting role as Homar’s production manager.

Look for marvelous small bits by  and , and cameos by Almodovar regulars , , the fabulous and scenes that are reworkings of his first international success, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown.

Cannes Film Festival:  In Competition

European Film AwardBest European Composer
Nominations: Best European Actress (Penelope Cruz); Best European Director (Pedro Almodovar)

Golden Globe Award Nomination:  Best Foreign Language Film

Toronto International Film Festival:  2009


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