Film Reviews, Short Review

Los Abrazos Rotos [Broken Embraces] (2009)

3.5/4

Broken Embraces offers a good overview of many of the elements of latter-day Pedro Almodóvar – the complex flashback narrative, the heightened melodrama, and the Douglas Sirk-by-way-of-Hitchcock visual stylings – and as ever with the great director, it’s a fantastic showcase of a man in such control and confidence in his abilities that it is impossible for much to go wrong. It’s also a superb vehicle for the versatile talents of Penélope Cruz; where she played a tough but empathetic mother in Volver, the pair’s previous collaboration, here she channels the glamour and timeless beauty of many a great Hollywood starlet from Audrey Hepburn to Rita Hayworth to Marilyn Monroe with aplomb. Broken Embraces isn’t quite top-tier Almodóvar in the way that Talk to Her or All About My Mother are, but it is a fine example of one of the greatest directors of all time simply doing what he does best: telling stories.

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