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Broken Embraces [Blu-ray] [2009] [US Import]

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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  • Broken Embraces [Blu-ray] [2009] [US Import]
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Product details

  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002VECLXM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 318,458 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By O E J TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Feb. 2010
Format: Blu-ray
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For six films Pedro Almodóvar was at the very peak of his powers. Starting with the radically ‘different’ career-altering straight melodrama of The Flower of My Secret (1995) and moving through the explosive sexuality of Live Flesh (1997), the balanced perfection of All About My Mother (1999), the metaphysical depth of Talk to Her (2002), the extraordinary narrative gymnastics of Bad Education (2004), and the deeply moving return to the social concerns of women surviving patriarchy in Volver (2006), Almodóvar laid claim to being one of the very greatest (some say THE greatest) directors in contemporary cinema. Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos, 2009 ) is perhaps the inevitable reality check which illustrates the central truism that even ‘great’ directors sometimes make bad films. The fact that his next two works (The Skin I Live In [2011] and I’m So Excited! [2013]) also fail to measure up shows Almodóvar to be stuck in a career rut. His films still make money (I’m So Excited! is amazingly his second most profitable film after All About My Mother) and we shouldn’t over-state this sense of crisis just yet, but it remains to be seen if he can regain his artistic mojo with the up-coming Julietta. My gut tells me his best films are now behind him and we will look back on the period (1995-2006) in the same way we look back at what Ingmar Bergman did in the ‘60s. Let’s hope Almodóvar has an Autumn Sonata (1978) or a Fanny and Alexander (1982) still left to give us.Read more ›
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By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 15 Dec. 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Broken Embraces should perhaps be one of Almodovar's best films, given his rapport with Penelope Cruz and the fact that it is so much about filmmaking itself. It also stars two outstanding actors in their biggest roles for him: Blanca Portillo and Lluis Homar. Both give enormous pleasure, and seem to give so much of themselves to the parts. Always one to think of his actors, Almodovar seems to give them dimensions that remained untapped in other films, so that Portillo, who was childless and unpartnered in Volver, here is primarily defined as a mother, perhaps. She is absolutely wonderful, and towards the end becomes the emotional centre of the film. Homar, likewise, was very good as the paedophile ex-priest in Bad Education, but here gets the plum romantic role, cavorting with Penelope in wigs of every shade (Penelope, that is). As usual, the film has a complicated plot, essentially going between two time bands, 1994 and 2008. It tells of the rise of Lena (Cruz) as an actress, her involvement with a rich industrialist film producer, her affair with a film director (Homar) and unhappy consequences of the love triangle. Portillo plays his assistant, and has a son called Diego who does a lot of listening in the film, convincingly because he is a sensitive lad. The problem is that the initial relationship is never convincing from Lena's point of view, and everything that follows feels a bit too much like something worked out on paper. Perhaps it is too late by the time the real love story kicks in, but it fails to deliver the emotional charge it might. This leaves the filmmaking strand to carry the emotional weight towards the end of the film, but it is too late to save Almodovar's film, really - it feels like film fragments without a proper centre.Read more ›
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