The latest film from the Oscar-winning, openly gay, Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar (All About My Mother, Talk To Her) is Los Abrazos Ratos (Broken Embraces). It stars Penélope Cruz as Lena and Lluis Horna as Harry Caine / Mateo Blanco.
The plot is typically complex, as Almodóvar is again playing with various genres of film here, just a few that I noticed are the film noir, the film-within-a-film device, the power of film itself, family drama and illicit love story.
The film is not emotionally resonant as some of his more recent films (Volver, Mala Educacion) but looks just as gorgeous as any of his previous movies and has the added feature of actually including an explicit parody of his breakthrough hit, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, this time called Chicas y Maletas (Girls and Suitcases).
Almodóvar has found another muse in female form with the gorgeous Penélope Cruz but unfortunately he is yet to find an equally compelling muse in male form to match his artistic connection with the young Antonio Banderas who appeared in many of the director's early works.
All in all, Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces) is an amusing diversion featuring an engrossing story which reflects Almodóvar's colorful imagination.
Running Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug material.
Director: Pedro Almodóvar.
OVERALL GRADE: B+/A- (3.5/4.0).
IMPACT: B+ .