Release Date: November 20, 2009
Starring: Penélope Cruz, Lluís Homar,
Blanca Portillo, Tamar Novas,
José Luis Gómez, and Rubén
Runtime: 128 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Executive Producer: Agustín Almodóvar
Producer: Esther García
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Address Comments To:Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcia Bloom
Sony Pictures Classics, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833; Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com
The movie opens with a writer in Madrid telling the audience that he used to be a film director who wrote his movies under the pseudonym “Harry Caine”. Now that he’s become blind, he has taken on the persona of his alter-ego, Harry. The rest of the movie reveals how Harry became blind. It’s all because of his tragic love affair with Lena, the beautiful mistress of a rich financier who funded her first movie directed by Harry’s original persona, Mateo Blanco.
Playing prominent roles in this lust triangle is Harry’s long-time female agent, Judit, and the financier’s homosexual son. Judit’s grown son Diego prompts Harry to recall what happened 14 years ago, but it is Judit who will reveal the secrets behind the scenes that have been hidden from Harry until now.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, BROKEN EMBRACES is well acted. International star Penélope Cruz plays Lena, the object of lust in the movie. The tragedy that occurs in the middle is sad, because Harry’s rival, who pushes Lena down the stairs when he finds out about their affair, instigates it. Lena survives the fall with a broken leg, but she and Harry run away together when Lena turns up beaten one other day in the story. Almodóvar deftly evokes sympathy for Lena and Harry toward the end. At the end, however, tragedy turns to hope and reconciliation when Harry’s long-time agent reveals the important secrets she has been keeping for 14 years.
Tragedy eventually strikes us all one time or another, because death is a part of life. Tragedy becomes more tragic, however, when we inflict it on ourselves because of our own sins or lust.
In BROKEN EMBRACES, Lena turns to the rich divorced man because she desires comfort and security, things he can provide. She doesn’t want to marry him, however, because she cannot trust a man who has been divorced several times. When she meets Harry, who puts her in his movie, the rich man, Ernesto, is so jealous that he funds the movie and becomes its producer so he can keep an eye on her. Sure enough, Ernesto’s suspicions are confirmed when he finds out about Lena’s affair with Harry and when Lena tells him she is leaving him for the director.
Thus, it is actually the pagan sinful lusts of these three characters that lead to the movie’s tragedy, including Harry’s blindness. The movie offers no spiritual or moral answers, however. It also contains foul language, lewd sexual content, explicit nudity, and drug use. Taken together, the movie’s depiction of explicit, immoral content is excessive and uninspiring.
BROKEN EMBRACES doesn’t explicitly promote an immoral worldview, so it’s not thoroughly evil or abhorrent, but it also doesn’t really question the immoral, hedonistic choices the characters make. That’s left up to the viewer. It could be said, however, that Judit’s confession of her past sins helps bring some emotional healing to Harry’s pain, and perhaps even a renewal of their own platonic relationship.
BROKEN EMBRACES is well acted. International star Penélope Cruz plays Lena, the object of lust in the movie. The tragedy that occurs in the middle is sad, but it occurs because of the untamed pagan lusts involved in the love triangle. BROKEN EMBRACES doesn’t explicitly promote an immoral worldview, but it does contain foul language, lewd content, explicit nudity, and drug use. Taken together, the movie’s depiction of immoral content is excessive and uninspiring. Media-wise viewers can find more uplifting foreign movies at our website, www.movieguide.org.