I've just seen Pedro Almodovar's latest movie and loved it enough -- and had enough questions about the twisted plot -- to have sat through the very next showing.
Not since Alfred Hitchcock cast Grace Kelly in a string of movies has a director been as smitten with a leading lady as Almodovar is with Penelope Cruz. And, it's easy to see why. Not since Rear Window has an actress looked more radiant.
Cruz plays Lena, a would-be actress and love interest of both a film director and a wealthy Venezuelan businessman. Here's where it gets confusing. Lena is starring in a movie directed by one lover and financed by the other. That Lena is romantically interested only in the film director (known first as Mateo and later -- after an accident that leaves him blind -- as Harry Caine) is irksome to her sugar daddy. He assigns his dorky, pimply teenage son to follow them around on set and try to catch them in the midst of shenanigans -- on tape.
That tangled business was all 16 years ago. The movie opens in the present, but the past is still very much haunting the characters.
Harry has long since quit directing, but he is still a screenwriter. And, he still has an eye for the ladies. He uses his handicap to seduce lovely young things and bring them back to his apartment, where his disapproving assistant (who hides secrets of her own) comes and goes as she pleases.
I haven't even gotten to the mysterious guy who shows up one day wanting to write a screenplay with Harry on a theme that sounds eerily familiar to him.
Almodovar weaves his dense story together beautifully. The melancholy score and his characteristic vibrant color palette add to the drama. Visually stunning, impeccably acted and a marvelous, layered story that is a treat to unravel ... see it.