Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. This is a pretty minor film from the filmmaker. It feels like more of an exercise in plotting and movie nostalgia than a story about real people.
  2. 100
    A voluptuary of a film, drunk on primary colors, caressing Penelope Cruz, using the devices of a Hitchcock to distract us with surfaces while the sinister uncoils beneath. As it ravished me, I longed for a freeze frame to allow me to savor a shot.
  3. 88
    Cruz exudes a sensual aura of mystery that holds you spellbound. And Almodóvar, a true poet of cinema, creates images -- horrifying and healing -- that live inside your head like a waking dream. You want to miss a movie like that? I didn’t think so.
  4. The movie putters near the end, but it's a film lover's delight.
  5. 88
    That still makes Broken Embraces superior to at least 99 percent of the movies released in 2009. Run, don't walk.
  6. A melodrama painted in the saffron-and-turmeric hues of a Bollywood musical, Broken Embraces is the Spanish filmmaker's homage to Hitchcock's "Vertigo," that moody account of obsessional love and double lives.
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    As a film that pays tribute to vintage '50s Hollywood, Broken Embraces is a visual delight.
  8. Reviewed by: Jan Stuart
    Amid all this dazzling artifice, the film's most authentic source of power comes from its star.
  9. 75
    It’s both ridiculous and ridiculously romantic, which is an apt description of a work shaped like a heart and structured like a pretzel.
  10. At 128 minutes – Almodovar's longest film to date – Broken Embraces is an easy film to bid farewell to.
  11. Broken Embraces is stylish and sly, an engaging exercise that gives us less than meets the eye.
  12. 63
    With this gorgeously melodramatic ode to cinema, the filmmaker comes dangerously close to losing himself inside his celluloid dreams -- and leaving the audience behind.
  13. 63
    The final half-hour of Broken Embraces is littered with facile contrivances and plot turns worthy of a soap opera. It's almost mystifying, and more than a little frustrating, to watch a movie cruising at such a high level suddenly suffer a complete breakdown and lose too much altitude.
  14. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    It all adds up to an entertaining combination of suspense and melodrama, a movie that doesn't cohere too well - and veers toward the silly in its more-obvious plot mechanics.
  15. Almodovar lets his movie become boring, and insufferably so.
  16. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Gorgeous and seductive, if pitched at Almodóvar fans and perhaps a touch long. Those drawn by Cruz’s divadom will wonder why it takes so long to get to her -- though she is wholly dazzling when it does.
  17. The notable lack of chemistry between Cruz and Homar is a crucial absence in a film about all-consuming romance. And though each part is great fun to watch, the whole feels unfinished.
  18. Watching the new film is like getting upsettingly full on insubstantial tapas: You would never say no to just one more, but there’s better.
  19. At times, it looks as though Broken Embraces might be the love child of Douglas Sirk and Alfred Hitchcock, with its dramatic broad strokes, iconic reds, and teasing narrative clues.
  20. Many of the characters go by two different names. So best advice for optimum viewing is, see Broken Embraces...twice.
  21. 91
    In Almodóvar and Cruz we have a real collaboration of artist and inspiration that only seems to improve and deepen over time.
  22. 90
    This really is Cruz's movie: Almodóvar is her North Star -- following his lead, she's always found her surest and most graceful footing as an actress.
  23. This movie is utterly irresistible.
  24. 90
    Broken Embraces leaves the viewer in a contradictory state, a mixture of devastation and euphoria, amusement and dismay that deserves its own clinical designation. Call it Almodóvaria, a syndrome from which some of us are more than happy to suffer.
  25. The writer-director is up to his old tricks, creating an onion of an experience -- a movie within a movie within a movie, irony in each layer, poignancy that stings and whimsy that bites.
  26. Mr. Almodóvar's love of movies informs every frame of this beautiful film.
  27. 80
    This melancholy romance is the first Almodovar feature I’ve ever really liked, an expertly fashioned melodrama that steers mercifully clear of his usual puckishness and star-mongering.
  28. 70
    A restless, rangy and frankly enjoyable genre-juggler that combines melodrama, comedy and more noir-hued darkness than ever before, the picture is held together by the extraordinary force of Almodovar’s cinematic personality.
  29. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    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?
  30. 50
    Seems a touch too long, too airless, and too content with its own contrivances to stir the heart.
  31. 91
    Broken Embraces welds Douglas Sirk melodrama to the most gracefully unsettling elements of Alfred Hitchcock, wrapping both in the stylish, hushed elegance that’s become Almodóvar’s trademark since his mid-’90s reinvention.
  32. During vast sections of Broken Embraces, I wished I was watching the actual old-time noirs instead of the miasmic concoction that Almodóvar has made from them.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Oct 23, 2010
    Pedro Almodóvar is a single-minded artist who always has one eye on the story and the characters, and the other on the delight of the film's images and colours. Never has there been a filmmaker who uses such an inspired and gorgeous and sumptuous palette. Full Review »
  2. BradK.
    Nov 20, 2009
    A gorgeous film! Cruz is incredible and unmatched in her ability to morph and demonstrate nuance throughout the film. The overall feeling of the film is unsettling in a captivating way. This is not "Volver," but closer to "Bad Education," but with a sense of humor in light of the bleak scenario. It also brilliantly captures the effects of Spanish literature's common metatextual and autoreferential themes, with "Chicas y Maletas" mirroring "Women on the Verge..." and Cruz herself playing a woman who wants to be an actress, a star, in a film from the leader of Spanish film. Full Review »
  3. Apr 29, 2011
    Pedro Almodovar? Check. Hard-boiled 1950s American film noir? Check. Penelope Cruz? Check. I think it's not bad movie but it's quite not interesting for me. Full Review »