Penelope Cruz in 'Broken Embraces'Fans of Pedro Almodovar's films know to expect the unexpected, or at least the playfully unorthodox. With his complex, multi-narrative plots peopled with eccentric characters, and a willingness to embrace sexuality in all its earthy glory, Almódovar has proven to be a fearless filmmaker. Since he began directing features in the late 1970s, his colorful, often comic melodramas have gotten deeper, more emotionally resonant, with 'All About My Mother' (1999), 'Talk to Her' (2002) and 'Volver' (2006) considered by many to be his greatest works.

With 'Broken Embraces,' his fourth movie starring main muse Penélope Cruz, Almodóvar has made a typically vibrant film centering around Cruz's character, an industrialist's mistress who pursues acting and falls in love with her director. (That's an extreme plot oversimplification.) Featuring flashbacks, flash-forwards, myriad movie references, actors playing double roles and a film within a film, it may be Almodóvar's most complex movie yet. Reviews have been generally positive, but several critics cite more style than substance, especially compared to the director's last several outings. Nearly all reviews, however, mention how downright enjoyable it all is, despite what some see as a relative lack of depth.
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