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Broken Embraces [DVD]

Penélope Cruz , Lola Dueñas , Pedro Almodóvar    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
Price: £6.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Broken Embraces [DVD] + The Skin I Live In [DVD] [2011] + Volver [DVD] [2006]
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Product details

  • Actors: Penélope Cruz, Lola Dueñas, Angela Molina
  • Directors: Pedro Almodóvar
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Feb 2010
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002JIM53G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,451 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Pedro Almodóvar continues to reinvent Hollywood's Golden Age for a new era with Broken Embraces. A blind screenwriter in the present day, Mateo Blanco, a.k.a. Harry Caine (Lluís Homar), reminisces about his favourite leading lady to his assistant, Diego (Tamar Novas). In 1992, when Caine met Lena (Penélope Cruz), stockbroker Ernesto (José Luis Gómez) had just made the cash-strapped secretary his mistress. First, Ernesto pays for her mother's medical care; then he supports her dream to act. In the process, Caine casts her in his screwball comedy and falls in love, and a passionate affair begins. Ernesto suspects something is up, so he hires his shifty son, Ernesto Jr. (the off-key Rubén Ochandiano), to film the couple surreptitiously, and a lip reader translates their conversations. Caine's production manager, Judit (Volver's Blanca Portillo), further complicates the scenario. By the end, Caine, whose name serves as a tip of the hat to hard-boiled author James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice), has lost his vision and his girl, and the culprit isn't as obvious as it seems. With Embraces, Almodóvar riffs on Tinseltown classics where greed and lust lead to death. If less successful than Live Flesh, a prior noir, his jigsaw storytelling remains just as riveting and his principal cast rises to the occasion, particularly Cruz, who plays a more passive character than usual and remains, much like Otto Preminger's Laura before her, a mystery that no one, not even the filmmaker, can ever completely solve.--Kathleen C. Fennessy,

Stills from Broken Embraces (Click for larger image)

Product Description

Drama from acclaimed director Pedro Almodovar, starring Penelope Cruz and Lluis Homar. Mateo Blanco (Homar) is a scriptwriter who was in a terrbile car accident 14 years ago that killed the woman he loved, Lena (Cruz), and blinded him. Since then he has gone under the name Harry Caine, choosing to forget his past and the accident, which he never talks about. One night he is required to look after his production manager Judit (Blanca Portillo)'s son Diego (Tamar Novas), after he hurts himself. During the time they spend together until Judit returns, Diego asks about when Harry was called Mateo and so Harry decides to tell the boy the story of his painful past, presenting it as fiction in an attempt to keep Diego entertained. Through his recollections we discover the intense and complex relationships that existed between Mateo, Lena, Judit and Ernesto Martel (Jose Luis Gomez).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not one of Almodóvar's best 4 Feb 2010
A drama based in Spain and with an audio soundtrack in Spanish with English sub-titles.

As is sometimes the case with films by Pedro Almodóvar, it's not so much the main story that's important, rather it's the little stories built around it that hold the attention and entertain. In essence this is a tale of a blind man talking about a tragedy that took place 14 years earlier and which since then he has tried to blot out of his mind. That tragedy was the loss of his sight, and at the same time the loss of his lover. So you might think that doesn't sound particularly exciting, but there's a lot more to this film than the plot. It's about the relationships between the various leading and supporting characters. It's about abuse of power, lust, jealousy, the desire to seek revenge, and the suppression of loss and regret. Few of these points refer to leading lady Penelope Cruz, however, who plays Magdalena - or Lena as she is more often called - instead her role is relatively passive even if much of what happens revolves around her.

The film is told from two time perspectives - 2008 and (mostly) 1994. Back then, wannabe actress Lena finds herself the mistress of the very wealthy but much older power broker Ernesto Martel who allows her to pursue her dream of becoming a screen star, but in that process Lena meets and falls in love with successful film director Mateo Blanco. So begins, back in the 1990s, a love struggle between the two men, one which leads to what might have been regarded as an inevitable tragedy but for the fact that the viewer is made aware of it early on when Mateo (or Harry Caine as he now calls himself) makes reference to the life-changing moment.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A love letter to cinema and Penelope Cruz 6 Feb 2010
I was slightly disappointed by Broken Embraces when I saw it at the cinema but possibly because I have such high expectations of Almodovar -but an 'off' film by Pedro is still more magical than the best work by other directors, and I only classify it as 'off' because I don't think it quite measures up to the likes of Volver or Talk to Her. Like the latter film (and also Bad Education), Broken Embraces has a complex structure made up of a series of flashbacks and / or the past being retold, which is expertly done until (I think) about two thirds of the way through when too much exposition is done in one scene. However, even that cannot undo Almodovar's passionate meditation on cinema (both in terms of making films and watching them) and love -Broken Embraces is essentially a love letter both to cinema itself and to Almodovar's current muse, Penelope Cruz. The scenes where Mateo meets Lena for the first time and then sets about turning her into his lead actress clearly demonstrate why Cruz is a star -the camera loves her as much as Pedro does. Many of Cruz's scenes are genuinely moving and her absence is palpable when she is not onscreen.
Despite my initial disappointment on first viewing, I am looking forward to seeing the film again now that it's out on DVD -Almodovar's films have so many layers that it's impossible to pick up on everything in one viewing. It's possibly not the film to start with if you've never seen an Almodovar film before (I'd say maybe All About My Mother would be a better intro), but for fans of Spain's premier film export this is well worth watching.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but still very good 26 April 2010
"Broken Embraces" comes as another artistic tapestry from one of world's greatest film makers. Penélope Cruz shines in this multilayered story about love, loss, humour and pathos. Like his other films, this one touches the various aspects of human life too. This time through the story of a blind film maker and his passion for cinema.

It would be a little unfair to compare "Broken Embraces" to Almodovar's previous works. It holds a distinction of its own and should be watched and judged on its own merits. It may not be his best work, but it is still very, very good, deep and worth your time. Far better than the kind of stuff that has been coming out in theatres lately.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Viv
The story feels as if it's been there before. Every now and then you think "Haven't I seen that somewhere?". Otherwise, a typical Almodovar piece - you must see it again because you blinked for a moment and missed something.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholic Power 23 Oct 2009
By ejiputo
I wish I knew how to write what I felt watching this movie. The story is good, the acting is incredible and most important, the powerful theme of cinema itself is what this film is about. Its feels so personal at times and so mad at being so personal at other times. Just for Penelope Cruz, its worth watching this movie. Almodovar as always takes chances and thats what makes him great.
When in this film, he started imitating his own "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" I was in a movie nirvana... bravo.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By Mike L
There are certain events in life which one will always remember. Pedro Almodóvar has provided me with more than one such moment.

It's now almost 30 years since Almodóvar's first film, Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls on the Heap [1980]. After the fireworks of early successes such as Matador [1986], he explored a strongly comic streak with the hugely successful Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown [1988], Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! [1990] and High Heels [1991].

After a few weaker films he produced two films which I shall always remember, which I consider to be truly great films: All About My Mother [1999] and Talk To Her [2002].

After the more personal Bad Education [2004], the sumptuous Volver [2006] was seen as a return to form. Broken Embraces is a quieter, more reflective film. The director seems past his peak, and yet there are still some shattering moments. Two of these are brought to us by Judit's innocent son Diego. I'd love to share them with you here, but it would spoil the film. Suffice it to say, they took me by surprise.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Almodovar masterpiece
Great plot, beautiful imagery, excellent acting. Almodovar is not for everybody, but if you like his work, you won't be disappointed.
Published 1 month ago by L. Fuentenebro
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic
Another great film by Almodovar. You can enjoy yourself whilst brushing up on your Spanish. The subtitles help when the going gets too fast.
Published 7 months ago by Jimbob
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Almodovar's best, but still worth seeing - improved on 2nd...
Technically beautiful, and well acted by the leads (some of the supporting cast is less than stellar), but there's a bit too
much in this film-noir/comedy/romantic tragedy... Read more
Published 24 months ago by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily good!
I bought a copy of this DVD as, having watched it as one of my Lovefilm titles, knew I would want to enjoy it more than once and be able to share it with others. Read more
Published on 29 May 2012 by D-bee
5.0 out of 5 stars Dvd
This is a DVD using spaInish language (not sub titles) great purchase. Will be looking for others using spainish in language as a tool to learning the language in a different way
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by sandy
2.0 out of 5 stars Subtitles out of frame!
As to the content of the movie I would agree that this is not one of Almodovar's best but it is watchable and interesting. Read more
Published on 28 Dec 2011 by Adrian Ball
4.0 out of 5 stars I love Almodovar
I did not necessarily get all of this film but loved it for its faults and complications . Penelope Cruz is brilliant , as she always is in spanish movies . Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2011 by cartoon
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Written
Almodovar wrote the screenplay as well as directed this film. I think he just about managed to put in every hackneyed cliched situation ever used in film making, and then some. Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2011 by The Reader
2.0 out of 5 stars not almodovar's best
pointless and boring, lacking in drama or feeling. Almodovar has made some great films and some not so great. this is my least favourite so far.
Published on 4 April 2011 by cataloguer
1.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, but I can't watch it...
Unfortunately my HD DVD player can not read the DVD. It is not the format or the Player, since I could see another DVD I bought at the same time
Published on 28 Mar 2011 by Susana Marambio
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