Broken Embraces

Rated 3.0

One of the nesting-doll narratives in Pedro Almodóvar’s new movie is a story about a tycoon who becomes a movie producer so his mistress can become a leading lady. Another is about the producer’s son, who becomes an on-set videographer to record Dad’s mistress being seduced by her director. Still another is about the man, now a blind screenwriter, who once was that director. José Luis Gómez plays the producer; Rubén Ochandiano, his son; and Lluís Homar, the director. Most importantly, the woman is played by Penélope Cruz—blooming as she often does on Almodóvar’s watch, and here also channeling half a dozen other movie dream girls besides. It’s a film for film lovers, certainly—and perhaps complacently, too. While its maker maintains his command of elegantly garish melodrama, saturating the proceedings with wistful romanticism just as cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto saturates them with color, it’s hard not to wonder whether this ever will yield more than, well, just another Almodóvar film.