Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: David Denby
    90
    Live Flesh, the best movie from Almodóvar since that Iberian screwball classic "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."
  2. A richly detailed tale of passion, perfidy and revenge adapted from a typically tricky Ruth Rendell novel.
  3. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    90
    Most of all, the satisfyingly cinematic screen adaptation puts motion and energy into a story that was mostly internalized from Victor's perspective in Rendell's book.
  4. Live Flesh is an effortlessly articulated tragicomedy by Pedro Almodovar, a world-renowned filmmaker at the height of his powers. [30 Jan 1998]
  5. 88
    Everything (not just the flesh) is vibrant with life.
  6. Almodovar is positively mature, adapting a novel by Ruth Rendell so deftly that the plot now also describes the invigorating and sometimes disorienting effects of democracy after long years of repression under the Franco regime.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    80
    Obsession has seldom looked as gaudy or thrilling as here.
  8. Possibly due to the story's origin as a Ruth Rendell novel, this is the most coherent, viewer-friendly narrative he's ever filmed.
  9. Some of the action is as lurid as the title, but passionate performances and ingenious visuals make this the most absorbing movie by Spanish director Almodvar since his great comedy "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."
  10. 70
    It's all very clever but not really provocative - though a layer of political subtext may make the scenario seem funnier and more meaningful.
  11. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    63
    The result is undeniably gorgeous, but it's all busy surface, beautiful bodies and ironically absurd plot contrivance, occasionally awkward references to political events in '70s Spain notwithstanding.
  12. Live Flesh is an often surprising assemblage of attractive parts that never seems to earn a full emotional response. [06 feb 1998]
  13. 60
    Live Flesh isn't terrible. It's accomplished and watchable.
  14. Reviewed by: Scott Timberg
    50
    It lacks both the shiny surfaces that enlivened the director's earlier films and the depth of character that allows us, in a traditional film, to identify, empathize, or connect psychologically.
  15. The real trouble with this movie is that it represents the continuing departure of Almodovar from the chaotic, riotous and anti-social roots that gave his best movies their zest.
  16. 50
    A soap opera as convoluted as it is overdetermined. [20 Jan 1998]
  17. Reviewed by: Giala Murray
    40
    The psychological study that is the author's trademark is reduced to superficial and negative motivation - lust, guilt, revenge, escape.
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Sep 24, 2013
    2
    Victor is a proletarian guy, born on bus by a mother working as a prostitute (shown in an overlong introduction and pointless to the rest ofVictor is a proletarian guy, born on bus by a mother working as a prostitute (shown in an overlong introduction and pointless to the rest of the movie) who falls for Elena, an upper class junkie. Actually, he just has casual sex with her once and becomes erotically obsessed with her.

    He stalks her to her apartment and stubbornly refuses to leave her alone. A fight ensues and Sancho and David, a couple of cops appear on the scene. David gets paralyzed by a gunshot and ends up married to Elena.

    Victor gets to jail, but he is still obsessed with Elena and continues stalking her once he gets out four years later. Already unconvincing, the story takes a turn for the absurd when Elena shows a growing interest for Victor, who continues to confuse obsession with love.

    In the meantime, Victor is also sexually involved with Clara, Sancho's wife (very believable plot twist). Clara is giving him lessons to become the best lover in the world, Victor's top ambition so as to astonish Elena with his performance. It sounds like a demented plot, but I am not making it up.

    Probably one of the weakest Almodovar's films, it contains the inevitable steamy sex scene, which are Almodovar trademark and it is disgraced even further by an absurd "happy ending", which sees stalker and prey happily together, while Elena is giving birth to their child on a car (back to the start, in a sort of circular move).

    P.S. to make the matter worse, throughout the whole movie Victor blames Elena, David and everybody else for his misfortunes, conveniently avoiding to notice that the whole drama arose from his obsession.
    Full Review »
  2. JasonE.
    Jun 6, 2007
    6
    Another overstuffed and convoulted vivacious mess from that oft-adored consummately colorful artiste from Spain, Aldmodovar. I'm not Another overstuffed and convoulted vivacious mess from that oft-adored consummately colorful artiste from Spain, Aldmodovar. I'm not quite certain why he felt compelled to include a political prologue and epilogue to what is a melodrama with a sliver of social commentary. Typically, the performances are impassioned and committed, especially Bardem who foreshadows his miraculous wooden turn in "Te Sea Inside." However, what mostly troubled me is Aldmodovar's salacious yearning to portray the men as unworthy of these delectable yet self-righteous femme fatales. Admirable as it may be to avoid such seemingly obvious scenes that display evidence of spousal abuse, Almodovar's alignment with the piously important 'Rabal' smacks more of his selfish sexual longing than out of narrative obligation. That being said, who could avoid feeling longing when such fine physical specimens are shot with such desirable yummyness. My goodness, am I envious of the Spanish skin tone. Both the characterizations and narrative plotting are strongest from the late 1st act through the end of the second. The rest is all a bit far-fetched and trying. Full Review »