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Marisa Paredes está perfecta dentro de una clásica historia de Almodóvar. Rossy De Palma y Chus Lampreave hacen de las mejores relaciones familiares que se puedan encontrar en el cine.
Pedro Almodóvar can't deal with the middle-ground. He likes to speak only in the high or the low, drenching his films in vibrant, Sirkian style that has to decide whether it's dressing an emotionally tumultuous drama or a light-speeded comedy. His career, beginning in the 1980s, has been long but equipped with as many misses as hits. Almodóvar's best make for startling unison between style and substance, deliberately artificial atmosphere turning more flaming as the goings get rough; his worst still look great, but they sometimes ramble, never going anywhere and never giving the style a place to grab onto. The red trench coats, red lipstick, and red pumps of Almodóvar's distinctly feminine characters are buried in catty conversations, Joan Collins schlock tears, leaving more of an image than an impression.
"The Flower of My Secret" is a quintessential example of an Almodóvar miss, absorbing in its aesthetic but distant in its ability to capture the imagination. Heavyweights like "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" and "Broken Embraces" rip our throats out with their passion towards screwball zeal/Technicolor noir cynicism. But lightweights, "The Flower of My Secret" being a prime example, don't allow us to think about anything besides how scrumptious everything looks. There is nothing wrong with an obsession toward visual materialization, but one can only stare at a painting before they want to move on to something that knocks them off their jaded feet.
Marisa Paredes portrays Leo Marcías, a bestselling romance novelist who writes under the pseudonym Amanda Gris. Leo, though, doesn't take pride in her work like Danielle Steel or Nora Roberts. She hates it, desperate to be taken seriously but unable to publish anything meaningful thanks to a paralyzing authorial contract. It's becoming impossible to write such fantastical material, considering her husband (Imanol Arias) has no interest in solving marital problems and her closest friends seem ready to betray her at any waking moment. Finding no other way to fix the cracks that rough up her life, she decides to take a job at local newspaper El Pais as a literature critic. Well aware that she will have to eventually attack her own book, Leo finds unsettling excitement in the idea of publicly diminishing her work after years of painful gloating.
"The Flower of My Secret"'s story sounds ready for screwball comedy treatment, but in execution, its plot feels rather haphazard and messy, taking more time to ignite itself through speedy small talk than conversation that actually moves the plot forward. Consider the film opens with a false lead: we think we're about to watch the tragic story of a middle-aged woman losing her son in a motorcycle accident, but it turns out to be a organ donation center training video in production. Scenes like this are amusing, yet they don't go anywhere. As a whole, "The Flower of My Secret" has no problem when it comes to being compulsively watchable. Cohesiveness, identity, authenticity - those are the issues that make the film so unmistakably flawed. The characters spend a whole lot of time gabbing and tearing up, but we never find ourselves entwined in their conversations, moved by their sudden outbursts of emotion.
Almodóvar, though, is incapable of making a movie that isn't stunning in its artistic vision. Photographically and directionally, "The Flower of My Secret" is visionary and eye-poppingly deliberate in its color; missing is interest that makes its look have meaning. But Parades gives a wonderful performance and Almodóvar sustains maturity - there are diamonds to be found in the candy colored rough.
The story of a woman who can't forget her first love, it's a very simple story but Almodovar's always manage to create a great movie with a very simple plot, so that's why I admire him!
one can almost always count on almodovar for some much-needed laughs.
Solidly acted and directed, but the story wasn't strong enough for me.
At first, I was like...omg... another film of his that is repeating the same material... but this one, actually was pretty good... I have enjoyed this one, the most "normal", of all his films. Lead female was great!
After the controversy Kika (1993) caused, Pedro AlmodÃ³var returned to making more serious films, and he turned out this melodrama which focuses on denial and identity. The film showed AlmodÃ³var diving into more serious material, even if it did leave some critics a bit cold, it has some good performances and has AlmodÃ³var's usual visual touches. Leocadia "Leo" Macias (Marisa Paredes) is a writer of romance novels, which she's written under the pseudonym of Amanda Gris. Her relationship to husband Paco (Imanol Arias), is distant and loveless, as he's stationed in Brussels and later Bosnia. Leocadia starts changing the direction of her writing, and starts writing darker and blacker novels, which alarm her publishers, who want more "Amanda Gris" books, which Leocadia is contractually obliged to do. Also, her family life isn't harmonious either, her sister Rosa (Rossy de Palma) and her mother (Chus Lampreave) are always bickering about something, but things change when Leocadia meets Angel (Juan Echanove), a newspaper editor who falls for Leocadia and her writing. It's a melodrama cut from similar cloth to Douglas Sirk's films, who was a big influence on AlmodÃ³var, but the film has a few plot pointers that would be reused in his later films, Leocadia's new, darker book has the same plot that AlmodÃ³var would use in Volver (2006). It's a pleasant way to pass the time, but it's all been seen before.
The flower of my secret has a more serious tone to it than most of AlmodÃ³var's films. The Mainstream lining isn't what i'm accustomed with Spanish Directors artfully lush and luminous work. It may not be my favorite, but its still beautiful in its own right.
Marisa Paredes is immaculate in this, she even balances out some minor weaknesses in the narrative flow.
The most delightful scene in this otherwise devastating pastiche, aside from that gorgeous Chavela Vargas performance and the mother's poem, is the one where Leo's publisher goes off on a rant and perfectly describes the plot to "Volver" (which could even be seen as a sequel to this and which would come to reference so many other Almodovar films so perfectly).