Broken Embraces (2009)

StarStarEmpty StarEmpty Star

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Penélope Cruz, Lluís Homar, Blanca Portillo, José Luis Gómez


A prostitute turned mistress to a wealthy industrialist falls in love with a film director for whom she successfully auditions for a part in his new comedy, Chicas y maletas. However, the former is possessive of what is his, not least the film, which he has insisted on producing.

The Review

The banal plot masks a typically byzantine series of melodramatic surprises, twists and flashbacks. The director treading water, then, in terms of material, celebrating his extensive stable of favourite actors, and even recycling his Women on the Verge script for the film within the film. Of all his work, this is the one in which Almodóvar's uncompromising love of the medium comes through the most, from its cinephilic quotations (Peeping Tom, Belle de jour, The Third Man) to its obsessive characters who seem to live and breathe film, and its plot that depends on seeing/not seeing. Beautifully lit, and with a score by Alberto Iglesias, it is almost a compendium of his work to date.