Indeed, three decades into his career as a name-brand fashioner of zesty soapers, Spanish cinema's most beloved export could direct un film de Almodóvar with his eyes shut and still get a rise out of his fans. So who could blame the matador for letting the bull run the show this time?
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What are critics saying?
Seems a touch too long, too airless, and too content with its own contrivances to stir the heart.
A restless, rangy and frankly enjoyable genre-juggler that combines melodrama, comedy and more noir-hued darkness than ever before, the picture is held together by the extraordinary force of Almodovar’s cinematic personality.
Watching the new film is like getting upsettingly full on insubstantial tapas: You would never say no to just one more, but there’s better.
Broken Embraces welds Douglas Sirk melodrama to the most gracefully unsettling elements of Alfred Hitchcock, wrapping both in the stylish, hushed elegance that’s become Almodóvar’s trademark since his mid-’90s reinvention.
Gorgeous and seductive, if pitched at Almodóvar fans and perhaps a touch long. Those drawn by Cruz’s divadom will wonder why it takes so long to get to her -- though she is wholly dazzling when it does.
This is a pretty minor film from the filmmaker. It feels like more of an exercise in plotting and movie nostalgia than a story about real people.
Many of the characters go by two different names. So best advice for optimum viewing is, see Broken Embraces...twice.
Cruz exudes a sensual aura of mystery that holds you spellbound. And Almodóvar, a true poet of cinema, creates images -- horrifying and healing -- that live inside your head like a waking dream. You want to miss a movie like that? I didn’t think so.
This really is Cruz's movie: Almodóvar is her North Star -- following his lead, she's always found her surest and most graceful footing as an actress.