Leo Macias writes sentimental novels with great success but hidden under a pseudonym, Amanda Gris. She is unhappy with her professional life and with her husband, a soldier working in ... See full summary »
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
Leo Macias writes sentimental novels with great success but hidden under a pseudonym, Amanda Gris. She is unhappy with her professional life and with her husband, a soldier working in Brussels and Bosnia that is never at home. She will try anything to change her life. Written by
Miguel A. Andrade <email@example.com>
During the film Leo talks about story lines for books. One of the stories is about a girl who kills her father after he tries to rape her and then along with her mother hides the body in a restaurant freezer. This is the basic plot of Volver (2006), one of Almodóvar's later films. See more »
Quaint, mostly interesting at times character piece that you never really feel fully blooms.
The opening of 1995's The Flower of My Secret is a false start, a deliberate build up to a pretty shocking reveal which is then rendered entirely fake. Whilst acting as another example of Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's knack of being able to incorporate, at least to a very basic degree on this occasion, texts within texts; such a sequence goes rather a long way in capturing how he does most of what it is he looks at in his films. That is to say, the sequence is thrust onto us in an unspectacular manner by way of two different compositions evoking a somewhat televisual sense, before a gradual reveal of one item; followed by another; followed by the fleshing out of who these people really are in a manner that feels cinematic. It's this establishment of an idea, subject matter or basis for a bog-standard and quite dramatic scene being revisited and toyed with to deliver something anew; much in the way Almodóvar revisits ordinary, but rather troubled, inhabitants of his native Spain and provides new tales mixed with both new and familiar flaws these people possess.
The Flower of my Secret is more of a wavy tale than I'd have liked it to be, too often getting bogged down with scenes and sequences that detract from what is primarily a film about: a woman battling with her identity in the form of an alter-ego as she undergoes changes in her life. In a film all about the relationship a woman has with her employers, herself and her husband, the scenes that carry the least dramatic weight are the one's in which the same woman must balance her role as a daughter and sister. But these incidences only occur sparsely and much like the lead heroine of the title whom totters around the general area in an unbalanced and somewhat confused manner, there is that consistent feeling the film itself will similarly do the same as it shoots about from one interaction to another. But The Flower of My Secret pulls together, if only just, but a more concentrated and more narrow view on these people and their problems would've sufficed even more.
The film covers Leo Macías (Paredes), a middle aged female writer whom works within fiction under an alias of Amanda Gris, someone many would like to find out the true identity of through her success. As an individual going through a troubled time, furthered by issues of a marital nature, the want to filter the true feelings, emotions and experiences through into her writing becomes more prominent something the publishers don't want, because the winning formula of writing these upbeat and romantic novels has already brought untold success to both Leo and the company. Leo is established in her very first scene to be a person who has difficulty removing the boots that she wears, while half her journey in the piece is the real inability to additionally rid herself of this alter-ego she has burdened herself with by way of writing cheery, uplifting tales and generally giving everyone what it is they crave. Aware the boots come with a problem that renders them difficult to get off, but doing so anyway because of her husband Paco (Arias) who is based in Belgium with the United Nations, this idea of going through a grinder for the sake of others seems to catch up with Leo early on; something that will carry on into her role as a writer as the film progresses.
Almodóvar's film is full of quirks, establishing things such as the boundary between reality and fiction that exists by way of the first scene before branching out and presenting happy-go-lucky novel fiction that the author wants to give an edge - but the film isn't a rounded experience. Another quirk, which arrives in the form of a subplot of sorts, is the nature of Leo's brief interaction with her husband Paco; a man charged with serving, protecting, nurturing and caring for those in far off places following an assigning to then war-torn Bosnia, but he does not much possess the said characteristics when thinking of his own wife and marriage, while Leo is stuck in nurturing a side of her in Amanda that she wants to rid herself of. In what is a seemingly self-aware jab at his own work, given how limited the presence of sexually active characters and the study of items of a sexual nature are in general, The Flower of my Secret is decidedly 'un-raunchy'. Indeed, when Leo and Paco initially meet in the doorway of the apartment; their embrace is somewhat censored by a conveniently placed reflective object of sorts while later on, the suggestion of anything steamy between the two is greeted with proverbial bombshells. Later on, a bathroom mirror will act as the means for the camera to whip pan toward as they reflect on where they are with each other and he reveals that certain plans have changed.
Almodóvar is a clever film-maker, able to build relationships between characters and play out some pretty dramatic set-pieces in the process. Unfortunately, The Flower of my Secret is only marginally interesting; with flashes of intrigue and border-line brilliance combining with above examples of intricate film-making. Here, I think to cram in a flailing marriage; with a career path in the balance; with another man falling in love with Leo; with her partially blind mother desperately wanting to return to the rural place she knows best, known only as 'the village', is biting off more than the film can comprehensively chew. Almodóvar is too good-a film-maker to make material of this nature unwatchable, but the flitting around he does as his lead tumbles in and out from one location to another gets a tad tiresome more often than not; as lots of different threads are all drawn together to form the basis for an arc of a woman whose life threatens to capitulate.
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