Culture Vulture: 11 reasons to see “Broken Embraces”

Director  and Penelope Cruz

Director Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz: Their new film probes the varieties of love.

By Helen Epstein

“Broken Embraces” at Kendall Square and Embassy Cinemas

1: Pedro Almodovar, one of the most interesting directorial sensibilities of our time, whose films probe our infinite varieties of experience in love and work

2: Penelope Cruz, an original who also incarnates the best of the many movie stars — American and European — who came before her

3: A meditation on forgiveness that draws, like Almodovar’s colors, on a full and many shaded palette of emotions

4: A multilayered and complicated story, involving a variety of characters whose class, age, and gender cover a wide spectrum of society

5: A Truffaut-evoking meditation on filmmaking, jealousy and revenge

6: A repertory company of skilled actors

7: Wonderful roles for women (as usual, not one or two but several great parts)

8: A fabulously seductive soundtrack

9: A striking tenderness in portraying difficult interpersonal transactions

10: A script so smart and a pace so swift that (unlike in a Bergman film, say) there is no time to read the subtitles and take in the visuals at once

11: A film you want to go back and see a second, perhaps third, time and still not be sure you grasped 90% of what you saw.

Helen Epstein’s essay on “Narrative in Memoir and Psychoanalysis” appears in this winter’s issue of “Psychoanalytical Perspectives” and in the newly published “Ecrire la Vie.


  1. Patrick Mehr on January 10, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Almodovar’s latest film is also a powerful example of an artist’s brilliant examination of, and insightful meditation about his own art form — movie making.

    In Broken Embraces, a blind film-maker edits his own movie, film-making is an integral part of the plot, and a grainy short film provides the organizing structure for the resolution of this story of jealousy, revenge, guilt and forgiveness.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts