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Review: It’s difficult to connect with characters in paper-thin Almodovar tale

Review: It’s difficult to connect with characters in paper-thin Almodovar tale

Pedro Almodovar’s “Broken Embraces” is a huge disappointment, more clever and cute than deliriously
Review: It’s difficult to connect with characters in paper-thin Almodovar tale
Penelope Cruz and Lluis Homar star in the Spanish-language film &acirc;&#128;&#156;Broken Embraces.&acirc;&#128;&#157;
Photographer: Sony Pictures Classics

Pedro Almodovar’s “Broken Embraces” is a huge disappointment, more clever and cute than deliriously engaging.

Its twists and turns are annoying and pretentious; it’s a movie that churns on our emotions, scraping them with Almodovar clichés. It’s not a terrible film, but with its contrivances, it’s one we’ve seen before. If it is polished, it is also glib. Welcome to a continental soap opera imitating high art.

Here, the emperor has no clothes in a film lacking humor and any sustained drama. It amounts to a paper-thin story, about a blind former director (Lluis Homar) who, in flashback fashion, tells an aide how he lost his sight and his love (Penelope Cruz).

‘Broken Embraces’

DIRECTED BY: Pedro Almodovar

STARRING: Penelope Cruz, Lluis Homar, Blanca Portillo, Jose Luis Gomez, Ruben Ochandiano and Tamar Novas.

Rated: R

RUNNING TIME: 129 minutes (in Spanish with English subtitles)

The problem is that we don’t really care about the characters or narrative. The entire project is clumsy, disjointed, and despite self-congratulatory flickers of wit, a turgid melodrama in search of a compelling story.

Cruz delivers a role with wit and elegance, but there’s a vacuum sapping the energy she tries to offer. So much for a film that tries too hard to be original.

Reach Dan DiNicola at [email protected]

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