Broken Embraces - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Broken Embraces Reviews

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October 8, 2013
Good but Almodovar could have done better. I can relate to the fact that you can't always have what you want.
September 27, 2013
After having watched the good "Talk to Her" and the masterpiece "The Skin I Live In," I was really expecting a lot from my 3rd Almodovar movie, and, unfortunately my expectations were not met. Broken Embraces is a melodramatic soap, and even worse, a boring one at that. Take the love triangle seen a million times with rich guy and his mistress, throw in an uninteresting writer/filmmaker, and you've already seen this movie. Well made, I admit, but really a shallow piece of work when examined at all. A small revelation about Diego near the end is laughingly obvious and dull, very much like the rest of this movie. I think this is a case of the director and audience clashing over stakes and priorities; the big revelation is almost less about what happens to Cruz than what the writer/director's long time partner did a long time ago to hurt the guy's movie, the restoration of which is supposed to be the emotional climax of the film. The problem is no ones cares, and the movie within the movie doesn't look so hot anyways.
September 1, 2013
muy drama, sin rebusques
½ July 9, 2013
Broken Embraces seems to be a typical Almadovar film - which is very good, to say the least. He uses his typical ways of directing, which have by now become his trademark. With his usual excellent cast, and of-late muse Penelope Cruz leading the way, the film just shows great character development. That is both due to the screenplay and a rather impressive response of the actors to the screenplay and Almodovar's direction. The original score of the film is also rather captivating.
However, one cannot but compare his latest to his previous films, such as Volver, La mala educacion or Hable con ella, and once one does it, one can see that Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos) is not quite as great as the others. There is just something missing. However, it is still a very good film, coming from the best Spanish (if not European) director, starring the best Spanish actors. I'd highly recommend it!!
June 15, 2013
This is an art house style film. Director Pedro Almodovar used Penelope Cruz in this movie as he did earlier in VOLVER. This story seemed over-heated to me. There is an obsessive husband. And, there is an intense lover on the side. It all seemed a bit over-wrought to me. It's not impossible, but the whole thing felt far fetched.

The weak link here is Harry Caine (Lluis Homar). This guy is OK, but he was not a convincing actor. I could not buy him in his role. Others might think he is adequate.

This was a showcase movie for Ms Cruz. She has quite a stunning screen presence. And, she is a pretty good actor. Director Almodovar should have selected a better leading man for his film.
½ April 28, 2013
You can always rely on AlmodÃÃ,³var to make excellent films. This is no exception. Penelope Cruz is amazing as Lena. Worth a watch for all fans of AlmodÃÃ,³var.
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2013
A romantic thriller of sorts, and a great one at that, Broken Embraces is full of excitement, romance, and a whole lot of melodrama. It tells the story (within a story) of Mateo Blanco, a director who fell in love with a married actress, but the actress's old and jealous husband was all too displeased with her affair. Mateo ended up losing his lover and his eyesight, and now must recount the whole story to his young friend whilst unraveling the mysteries of his past in the process. Both Penélope Cruz and Lluis Homar are great as the two co-stars and, despite the movie's intentionally soapy storyline, their performances infuse it with an emotional and personal touch. Oddly enough I enjoyed this much more than Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's previous film Volver, which was more critically-acclaimed but didn't really hold my interest as tightly as Broken Embraces did. Nonetheless, Broken Embraces is a very enjoyable and consistently entertaining movie that is as exciting as it is accessible, and makes for another very good movie from Almodóvar.
April 14, 2013
just watched this movie again...viva Pedro...
½ April 12, 2013
Broken Embraces is a kind of a film where audience can completely relates to the suffering and struggling of the principle characters,as shown through their extraordinary performances and rich visual background taken so much realistically.
It has so much intelligent details in character studies,their little gestures and script detailing like other of Almodovar's works that the story goes easily in two decades without a single fall,and completely amazes at the ending where we can see the first time of them being happy together,as a complete family.
½ April 6, 2013
Pedro Almodovar's Los abrazos rotos might not be his greatest work, but its visually beautiful as always, and presents amazing performances from its ensemble cast with a smartly written script and engaging storytelling, presenting a drama that still manages to show unusual and clever humour that only Almodovar can deliver.
April 2, 2013
Wonderfully structured, highly entertaining and peppered with brilliantly-written scenarios revolving around different characters that only serve as a hypnotic method of getting the viewer's attention. Broken Embraces cements its position as possibly Almodovar's most underrated film, one that almost certainly get a second viewing in the near future.
March 28, 2013
The normally solid Almodovar delivers an uneven movie. Not bad as such but seemingly without any focus and as a result Broken Embraces becomes quite boring.
January 14, 2013
It was a disappointment to me. After having seen The Skin I Live In, I expected more, even though both films have the themes of love and revenge. The latter film was much more powerful.
December 24, 2012
good but a little slow
December 11, 2012
Interesting, but a little slow. It's not my style of movie I guess.
½ December 6, 2012
Broken Embraces was a disappointing, tiresome, sometimes frustrating experience. There's something strange about the feel of the film that I can't quite put my finger on, and that's why the it frustrates me. Is it deliberately campy in presentation or just ineffective, jumbled attempts at some kind of unique creativity? I'm not quite sure, and that's why Almodóvar's film failed to make me feel much of anything. With the exception of his two main characters Lena (Cruz) and Mateo (Homar), everyone else involved in the soap opera is empty and under-developed because nothing but their momentary motives are revealed to us, and never any characteristic substance. The implementation of cinematic clichés and an overabundance of overly-dramatic acting were at times laughable, even painful. Maybe Almodóvar wanted it that way, though. Perhaps the use of an acting style that could have come straight from a 1940's classic is some kind of homage to the kind of film he loves.

The movie certainly doesn't shy away from any long withstanding clichés about romance, either. Broken Embraces is centered around the romance between Mateo and Lena. Mateo is a screenwriter/director who casts Lena in his comedy, instantly falling in love with her during her audition. But there's a catch. Lena's significant other is a high profile millionaire named Ernesto (José Luis Gómez) who requests to produce the film after he becomes suspicious of Lena's long working hours on the set. After his suspicions begin to consume him he sends his son, Ernesto Jr. to film Lena's every move, all the while telling Mateo and others on the set that he is recording a documentary about the making of the film. As things turn from bad to worse with Lena and Ernesto at home, a climax in their ongoing confrontation occurs when Ernesto pushes Lena down the stairs, hospitalizing her. Shortly thereafter, Mateo and Lena flee, leaving behind Ernesto and Blanca (Judit García), Mateo's agent and closest confidant.

After Lena's confrontation with Ernesto and during her subsequent escape with Mateo is when the film becomes strikingly cliché and humorously over-dramatic in its acting, encompassing every characteristic of a quintessential soap opera. Every romantic embrace between Mateo and Lena is laced with all of the stereotypes one can possibly think of from pop-culture spoofs about what I call "over-drama." In one scene, the two clasp and fall over each other and begin showering one another with kisses. During scenes like these I felt like I was watching parody. But, as I stated earlier, Almodóvar knew this. It's clear that he wanted to provoke this style of acting from his performers. The man is, after all, one of the most well-established, respected and creative Spanish filmmakers working today. I think he's attempting to create something new, unique and even personal with commonly used styles and approaches (his use of melodrama, romantic drama, etc.) But what is Almodóvar's personal touch on such things? The one thing I admire about the film: the artistry behind and attention paid to almost every single shot.

Keeping me engaged in a film that I otherwise thought to be fairly unmoving was Almodóvar's talent with the camera and what he sees it as capable of producing for his audience. His uses of primary colors (reds in particular) throughout the entire film make for visually stunning shots, turning almost every one into something easily transferable (at least in the viewer's mind) to a museum wall. If not for such creative insight behind the camera, I would have been thoroughly bored by what Broken Embraces had to offer. Maybe this was what Almodóvar wanted to achieve, then. Maybe there is something to be said for a man choosing such commonly used cinematic devices and approaches to tell his story behind the backdrop of his own unique artistic talents. Also worthy of mention from a technical standpoint are the camera angles. Throughout the course of the movie we're consistently surprised by odd but intriguing placement of the camera. At the beginning of the film there's a shot looking up from the bottom of a glass table at a phone while someone is talking on it, and we only see their arm. At another instance later in the movie the camera is tilted diagonally while Lena lays on an examination table in the hospital, then proceeds to follow her as she raises her body, creating an unusual sensation for the viewer as it all takes place.

As the story progresses, we learn of what happens to Mateo and Lena in their attempt to flee. After we learn of Lena's fate and the motive behind its happening, the characters still remain underdeveloped and all we have to rely on for characteristic substance is motive. For Blanca (a character I haven't talked much about), it's obvious that she has deep love and admiration for Mateo, but we know nothing else about her. Instead we're forced to wonder what would make a woman like her continue to lust after and admire Mateo, a man who partook in a selfish deed that altered the lives of everyone involved. Lena becomes Ernesto's significant other after being moved by what seems to be his immense kindness. She can also act. She also falls in love with Mateo. Other than that, we know nothing else about her. Although rich with creativity and vibrancy from a technical standpoint, Broken Embraces remains flat and just doesn't resonate. A false, over-dramatic feel kept me from being involved in what it had to offer. Penélope Cruz is gorgeous as Lena, but Lena isn't much else than... well, gorgeous. I give the film 6.5/10 stars. As Impressed as I was by its technical achievements, its flaws in terms of substance overshadow any positives it may have.
December 1, 2012
I have no idea how I managed to missed this Almodovar film, but glad I finally saw, so many twists and turns, Excellent!
November 30, 2012
Visually stunning and very well directed.great work of art...deeply engaging
November 29, 2012
Mix feelings. People are not sure about Almodovar any more.
November 25, 2012
Penelope Cruz is so gorgeous if you stare at her too long you might be hypnotized into lethal self-harm. But yeah, the rest of this movie is pretty fucking dope, too. Did I just say that?
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