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Movie Review: Broken Embraces November 25, 2009

Posted by judylobo in art, Movie Review Archives, Movie Reviews.
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Movie Review: Broken Embraces

Alternate Title: Love is Blind

Story: A mediocre film by writer and director Pedro Almodóvar is better than most other films you might see in your local multiplex. Almodovar once again challenges his audiences with a contemporary painter’s flare, plot twists in the story, characters with more than one identity and distortions in the time line. Ready for the challenge?

We meet blind screen writer Harry Caine as he tumbles on the couch with a beautiful woman who has helped him cross the street. Harry is no ordinary man. He used to go by the name of Mateo Blanco, as a film director, before he lost his sight in an accident 14 years ago.

This is the type of movie where revealing too much of the plot would spoil the movie experience – so suffice it to say that almost every character is not quite who you think they are and everyone is tangentially connected to everyone else. With instant transitions, we find ourselves moving through the story line from present day, back to 1994 and forward to 2002 and on and on.

The sets are awash in marvelous color and your eyes dance through the film. The camera adores its actors and we are the recipients of these rewards.

Almodovar is a film maker that is not afraid to make a movie that in complicated and multi-layered and often just plain fun. I would not miss one of his movies and neither should you.

Acting: This is the fourth film Almodovar has made with Penélope Cruz (Lena). Penelope Cruz is stunning. She gets better with each film she makes and the camera adores her – as does the audience. Lluís Homar as Mateo/Harry Caine, plays his part with a straight face and pulls it it off. Blanca Portillo as the long suffering Judit, is wonderful as is the comically evil José Luis Gómez as Ernesto Martel. Rubén Ochandiano as the loony Ray X is terrific as is the innocent, young and Tamar Novas as Diego.

Trivia: Pedro Almodovar is most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Luis Buñuel was born in a small town (Calzada de Calatrava) in the impoverished Spanish region of La Mancha. He arrived in Madrid in 1968, and survived by selling used items in the flea-market called El Rastro. Almodóvar couldn’t study filmmaking because he didn’t have the money to afford it. Also- the filmmaking schools were closed in early 70s by Franco’s government. Instead, he found a job in the Spanish phone company and saved his salary to buy a Super 8 camera. From 1972 to 1978, he devoted himself to make short films with the help of of his friends.

Predilection: I love Pedro Almodovar films.

Critters: A dog on the beach.

Food: Tomatoes, garlic, gazpacho, muffins and lots of drinks.

Sex Spectrum: Casual and non-casual sex with tumbling, fumbling and plenty of boobs.

Blatant Product Placement: Canon

Soundtrack: Delightfully soap opera-ish.

Opening Titles: Other than the title – all credits are at the end.

Visual Art: Almodovar is an artist through and through.

Theater Audience: About 50 other Almodovar fans.

Weather: Spain is lovely throughout.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout. It is subtitled so drifting is not a good idea.

Predictability Level: Moderate

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Probably not.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure.

Length: A bit over two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 8

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