Broken Embraces Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 8, 2010
A pretentious soap-opera melodrama, ridiculously self-aggrandizing, an empty exercise to explore the beauty of Almodóvar's muse Penélope Cruz with his lustful camera. And the unwelcome self-reference to one of his classic films is not only unfunny but a total embarrassment.
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2012
Slow to start, but a powerful finish. Incredible storytelling, subtle direction, and absorbing acting, easy choice if you're in the mood for Artistic+Foreign.

Looking forward to watching Volver...
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2012
Standard fare for Almodovar. And I dont mean that in a negative way. This man coasting is still leaps and bounds more fascinating than the pet projects of many directors.
It is hyper-sexual, highly-stylized, and has melodrama oozing out of every pore. The production is regal and elegant, with brilliant colors bursting on screen while characters do their best to control the mess that their elicit passions have made.
While it may not carry the same weight as Talk to Her or All About My Mother, it is an entertaining story told richly by one of the world's premiere filmmakers.
Super Reviewer
July 10, 2011
The scope of human suffering and joy is fervently wide in Almodovar's take on love, lust, and relationships in his first broad genre film. The film showcases a beatific premise of following the love affair of two ill fated star crossed lovers, thrown together in the strangest of circumstances, beating back barriers put up by a powerful ex-lover. The story isn't very complex or hard to follow by any means, but there is a lot of explanation and back-story included, a series of confessional conversations between the intertwining characters. Each of the characters in this film are intricately developed, none without some study of their personality, or what has lead them to their current position. The film spans sixteen years in total, encompassing a painful journey for aspiring actress and former secretary Lena (Cruz) now embroiled in a purely profit escapade with financier Martel (Gomez) and an affair with screenwriter and director Mateo (Homar). Cruz is obviously Almodovar's muse, their second collaboration after Volver. He showcases the sterling beauty with many shots of her smiling, head tilted, vulnerable to the point of a newborn fawn. Without Cruz, the sweetness of the film would have been drained for a tenser thriller between their love and the oppositional Ernesto. It's shot beautifully, the subject matter is plain but well executed, and the acting is truly wonderful. I'd say one of Almodovar's best films to date.
Super Reviewer
July 28, 2011
Upon the death of a millionaire, a blind writer recalls his affair with the dead man's wife.
Typical of Almodovar, this film features lush scenery, colorfully disparate characters, and Penelope Cruz giving a very good performance. It is also superbly structured; the mystery isn't revealed until the second act, and the reveal is natural, not contrived, organic.
I would have liked to have seen the woman who opens the film fit somewhere in the flashback. Also, I don't think the film that is central to the past action reveals much about the characters, and it certainly shouldn't have been used as the climax.
But these are minor issues in an otherwise very strong drama. Overall, this is the best Almodovar film I've seen, and after this film, in which all the stylistic signatures I've seen in his other work come together, I can see why he is an acclaimed director.
Super Reviewer
April 27, 2010
Magnificent! Pedro Almodóvar continues to flirt with Hitchcockian high-style melodrama, even as he defaults to kooky, primary-coloured comedy. The Spanish film journeys between the past and the present, and interweaves diverse stories and viewpoints, to construct a fascinating drama full of twists and turns. The plot has a complex, but perfect screenplay with use of flashbacks with a marvelous development of the characters.
This is a teasing fantasy about cinema, romance, possibility, comedy, tragedy and charm. Penelope Cruz seesaws between the styles of Audrey Hepburn and Tippi Hedren, but has gained a peppery screen personality of her own, which makes her more than just an old movie ghost, while Lluis Homar is restrained, complicated and potentially a breakout character actor superstar.
Super Reviewer
June 18, 2009
Aiaiai! I like Penelope, but this movie lacked a good story, and chemistry between the actors! I've seen many of Almodovar's movies, but this one bored me to tears.
Super Reviewer
½ December 20, 2010
You kind of know what you're going to get with Pedro Almodóvar, his work is synonymous with quality. Broken Embraces balances drama, humour and tension brilliantly, it may be a little predictable in places but is never boring. Is there a more reliable director?
Super Reviewer
½ October 3, 2010
Director Pedro Almodovar yet again delivers what he does best. Another portrayal of human nature and the complexities of relationships.
Lluis Homar plays blind writer 'Harry Caine' who, while being supported with his daily duties, agrees to help a young man with his idea for a book. In the process of helping him, he is forced to look back at his own life. Revealing that 14 years ago, he was in fact, renowned film director 'Mateo Blanco', who shared a passionate relationship with his leading actress 'Lena' (Cruz) that put both their lives in danger, and lead to tragedy and Harry's blindness.
Almodovar returns with his muse, Penelope Cruz and his usual convoluted story arches as well as his eye for beautiful imagery. As ever, his direction is methodical and visually splendid and draws another fine performance from Cruz - who really seems to raise her game when working with him. It's Lluis Homar who impresses most though. At just over two hours, it demands a level of commitment but, as ever, it's rewarding. Teasingly, releasing pieces of the story bit by bit and delivering his usual dramatic revelations with ease.
It's by no means his best but it's another fine addition to Almodovar's catalogue of high quality film making.
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2009
Another satisfying movie from one of the best directors of recent decades,Pedro Almodovar.There are many admirable characteristics of his spectacular cinema that we can mention.Personally i just dont like his sense of humor and whenever he tried to use less comedy themes,result was fabulous, like Volver and Talk to her.
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2010
Creepy, peepy, trippy. Okay, that's not exactly what this movie is, but one of the characters kept reminding me of these words quite often while watching the movie; so I couldn't help mentioning it here.

It's basically a love story executed in a thriller form with a few twists & turns thrown in, which unfortunately are quite predictable. While the rest of the cast was appropriate, Penelope Cruz was a big turn off for me here. I can't understand why this bamboo stick is still an actress. She neither looks attractive nor is she a gifted/talented actress. I find her acting to be mediocre at best. (To each, his own, anyway.) Despite of all this, I found the movie quite watchable. Though it was predictable, I liked the way it maintained the mystic element that kept me hooked to it. The background music is also noteworthy. It was quite in sync with the proceedings & got even better during tense moments. 6.5/10.
The Gandiman
Super Reviewer
½ May 22, 2010
Middle of the road Almodovar fare is still beguiling. Again Cruz delivers for Almodovar in this Hitchcockian-like twisty affair that goes on a bit too long.
Super Reviewer
May 18, 2010
Will write later. Really.
Super Reviewer
January 14, 2010
Pedro Almodóvar delivers yet again with this funny and touching gem. Beautiful cinematography, great script, and Cruz in top form make BROKEN EMBRACES one of Almodóvar stronger efforts.
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2009
Apparently the name 'Pedro Almodovar' carries some weight and prestige; but I've never heard of him, so this could be an extraordinary or poor example of his work and I'd be none the wiser. The film is over-the-top melodrama from start to finish. These lovers could put Heathcliff and Catherine to shame! Catastrophe after catactrophe is pilled on, but unlike a movie of the likes of Twilight, Broken Embraces really does not take itself seriously; and this is part of the film's charm. The actual storyline is rather depressing, but everything else is rather light and lush. The style was hands down the strongest point for me. It's gorgeous! It's bright and vibriant, and just as important to the film as the story or actors. The sets and location are fairly surreal, but in a realistic way, if that makes any sense at all. Cruz' hair and eyes are probably the most memorable thing in the entire film. There are very few actresses who can pull off a platinum blonde wig. Penelope Cruz is at her absolute finest, but everyone else is pretty forgettable. The story has holes, there is no denying it; but, overall, this is an incredibly strong work. It is completely engrossing, flawless visually, and really, if done well, that is enough.
Super Reviewer
April 9, 2010
What I think is really interesting about this story is that it's not particularly what you'd expect. The non-linear aspect is very fun because you want more and more information from each side and piece together how they connect. It's actually one of the best shot films I've seen from Pedro Almodovar, he takes a lot more time to show you the sets and locations as well as different sides of each character. It's also interesting that one of the core mysteries is never solved, which surprisingly works. The acting was great, Penelope Cruz completely out-shined the rest of the cast as usual though. I really enjoyed the added bonus of seeing homages to Audrey Hepburn and a twisted story behind an earlier Almodovar film, Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Overall, it's a great mystery/romance story that's certainly worthy of anyone's time.
Super Reviewer
March 31, 2009
Plays like a behind-the-scenes backstory to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Devoted, hardcore Almodóvar fans might find this one a little too plausible (no cross-dressing matador nuns with telekinetic powers) but it's still teeming with passion and Pedro-isms. Four stars.
Super Reviewer
March 6, 2010
Lush visuals and all Almodovar's trademark florishes add up to an enjoyable if inconsequential entry in his canon. A more straightforward tale of jealousy than his more issue driven output, I responded to its simplicity.
Super Reviewer
November 8, 2009
A classic, solid love story with some nice scenes of Lanzarote towards the end.
Super Reviewer
½ April 3, 2009
a film so full of layers that i know i will have to see it a few more times to take it all in. almodovar's style is so engaging and the way he uses color and frames shots is so perfect that it adds an additional element of intrigue to the story itself, which is excellent. the acting is near perfect, espcially by cruz and homar, and the dialogue of the film is beautiful, especially in the beginning of the film. really wonderful.
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