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Broken Embraces (2009)

Los abrazos rotos (original title)
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Harry Caine, a blind writer, reaches this moment in time when he has to heal his wounds from 14 years back. He was then still known by his real name, Mateo Blanco, and directing his last movie.

Director:

Pedro Almodóvar
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 9 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Penélope Cruz ... Lena
Lluís Homar ... Mateo Blanco / Harry Caine
Blanca Portillo ... Judit García
José Luis Gómez ... Ernesto Martel
Rubén Ochandiano ... Ray X
Tamar Novas ... Diego
Ángela Molina ... Madre de Lena
Chus Lampreave ... Portera
Kiti Mánver ... Madame Mylene
Lola Dueñas ... Lectora de labios
Mariola Fuentes ... Edurne
Carmen Machi ... Chon
Kira Miró ... Modelo
Rossy de Palma ... Julieta
Alejo Sauras ... Álex
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Storyline

Passion, obsession, wealth, jealousy, family, guilt, and creativity. In Madrid, Harry Caine is a blind screenwriter, assisted by Judit and her son Diego. The past comes rushing in when Harry learns of the death of Ernesto Martel, a wealthy businessman, and Ernesto's son pays Harry a visit. In a series of flashbacks to the 1990s, we see Harry, who was then Mateo Blanco, a director; he falls in love with Ernesto's mistress, Lena, and casts her in a film, which Ernesto finances. Ernesto is jealous and obsessive, sending his son to film the making of the movie, to follow Lena and Mateo, and to give him the daily footage. Judit doesn't like Lena. It's a collision course. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Spain

Language:

Spanish | English

Release Date:

15 January 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Broken Embraces See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$107,111, 22 November 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,014,305

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,991,660
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The photograph featured in the film of Harry and Lena embracing on Golfo Beach in Lanzarote has its roots in a real life photograph Pedro Almodóvar took of Golfo Beach whilst there in 2000. When he had the photograph developed, the director saw at the bottom of the photo a couple he hadn't noticed on the day embracing. "I felt that the couple hid a secret", he said later. "The whole island was holding a secret. I had to unveil that secret." See more »

Goofs

After Ernesto pushed Lena on the staircase, he takes her to the hospital in his Rolls Royce. When they approach the metal gate of his Villa, you can see, almost in the middle of the frame, a blue square with a man inside, most probably a crew person. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[in Spanish, quoting English subtitles]
Modelo: What's your name?
Mateo Blanco: Harry Caine.
[voiceover]
Mateo Blanco: I used to be called Mateo and I was a film director. I was always tempted by the idea of being someone else, as well as myself. Living one's life wasn't enough, so I invented a pseudonym, Harry Caine, an adventurer who, as fate would have it, became a writer. I had him sign all the scripts and stories I wrote. For years, Mateo Blanco and Harry Caine shared the same body, mine. But a moment came when ...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Late Show with David Letterman: Episode #17.46 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Werewolf
Performed by Cat Power
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User Reviews

 
A sorry Almodovar. A truly, deeply, and disappointingly slow sorrow maelstrom
4 June 2009 | by vostfSee all my reviews

There's not much to say when Pedro Almodovar gives us a good movie. Even less when he gives us a wonderful movie. Unfortunately Los Abrazos Rotos is way way below Todo Sobre Mi Madre, Hable con Ella, and one slight cut below Volver. Even La Mala Educacion was somewhat more consistent.

Maybe Almodovar got stuck in the trap of self-importance as he wanted to tell a story about movies, about his love for cinema. Movie references in his previous works were just subtle touches, even when he insisted on speaking of All About Eve in All Todo Sobre Mi Madre (About My Mother).

Los Abrazos Rotos starts out nice, this blind writer seems to have a lot to show us. With the first flashback to 1992 we already lose some ground since we are shifting gears down to another emotional setup; from there we start over grounded in pathos, so it is like we are told to hold back, just like the main characters. Since we are curious about the whole backstory we can take some of this, even though we're left with very little to chew as it unfolds. Eventually, when we know it all about the drama 14 years back, the movie painfully drags its feet to a dull ending. I would never have imagined Almodovar could get so boring. Was it just him drowned in nostalgia for a time when all his energy would come easily and easily translate into those buoyant, yet emotional, features like Chicas y Maletas -- I mean Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios?

It seems to me there's a big bug in the script (damn, I would never have imagined myself indulging in the critique of one of Almodovar's scripts). Basically, all major characters are on the same emotional level: they all bear the scars of a painful love and none is speaking his mind. We're just there to wait, overwhelmed by pathos, until a long winding flashback will tell us more. Maybe the movie starts up too emotional and fails to lighten up before going back to its roots. Hable con Ella didn't really ever lighten up but it was way more focused. So I dare say Almodovar messed up his craft here. It's not that bad since he gave us so much before, but it's quite a big letdown.


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