Movie Review: Broken Embraces (2009)

This is a part of my Pedro Almodovar Marathon.

Broken Embraces (1)

When I look over the films I’ve watched thusfar in the Almodovar studies thusfar I can pick out some films that I adored, some I liked and others that I had trouble with, but I feel this may be the first where I can find no redeeming factors. At least none that I care to share for fear of being labeled sexist and a horribly human being.

The film follows two broken tales separated by time. The first being the story of Lena (Penelope Cruz) and her marital struggles bleeding into her hopes of being an actress. The second is that of Harry Caine (Lluis Homar) who’s a famous writer who’s blind.

These stories end up being connected by way of Harry Caine himself, who in the time of Lena’s tale was better known as Mateo Blanco, a relatively well regarded filmmaker. He’s breaking away from his usual work to make a comedy and one day Lena shows up at his office to audition for a role and they immediately fall in love.  This causes some distress in their lives as Lena is with the man who’s the producer of the film.

Almodovar takes us on this journey that to be quite honest felt purely uninteresting. It’s not hard to make one vested in a character’s life story. It’s generally the easiest thing. Because regardless of all the tedium that exists in life when someone has a tale to tell it easily enraptures an audience as he begins to tell it, as I felt this would’ve. However, the film finds it necessary to take almost an hour to begin this story in actuality.

Some may say that first hour is Almodovar setting the table for a this grand romance tale, but when a storyteller has to straddle that line of setting us up and having his audience intrigued it’s a thin line. This film I feel is where Almodovar stepped away from that line for too long in order to gain back the audience’s attention.

What do you think of Broken Embraces?