"Everything's already happened to me," admits Harry Caine, the blind, middle-aged filmmaker in Broken Embraces. "All that's left is to enjoy life." ¡Sí! His own sights set low these days in his latest movie, reformed bad boy Pedro Almodóvar has at least hit on a vivid metaphor for his diminished condition. Indeed, three decades into his career as a name-brand fashioner of zesty soapers, Spanish cinema's most beloved export could direct un film de Almodóvar with his eyes shut and still get a rise out of his fans. So who could blame the matador for letting the bull run the show this time? Channeling Audrey Hepburn, Penélope Cruz plays Lena, a Madrid secretary who moonlights as a hooker named Severine before turning full-time to (what else?) film acting. Pretending to be in love with ancient Ernesto (José Luis Gómez), Lena is secretly carrying on with her director (Lluís Homar), who changes his name to Harry upon losing his eyesight in a car crash. Fourteen years after the accident, a gay, twice-married goofball who calls himself Ray X is identified by blind Harry as actually being Ernesto Jr. (Rubén Ochandiano), a filmmaker who...oh, well, you get the idea. Equal parts comic melodrama and film noir, twice as fun as it ought to be, Broken Embraces splices itself together in the end. Maybe Almodóvar — blindly optimistic, confident enough to coast — has still got it after all.
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