With The Flower of My Secret (1995), Almodovar comes perilously close to making a straightforward soap opera in the grand 1950s Hollywood tradition — or as straightforward as Almodovar can be. If the film had come from almost anyone else, it would be considered at the very least slightly bizarre. For Almodovar, however, it’s surprisingly subdued. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean that it’s in any way ordinary or that it takes itself too seriously.
The premise is certainly movie-ish in the extreme. Leo Macias (Marisa Paredes, High Heels) is a famous writer of trashy romance novels, who hides behind the pseudonym Amada Gris. Fabulously successful, but in the middle of a failing marriage and at the beginning of a serious drinking problem, Leo loathes her life and her work — the latter to such a degree that she gets a job at a newspaper as a literary critic and trashes them. The film follows her through the break-up of her marriage, through a suicide attempt, a virtual breakdown and on into a surprisingly hopeful ending. (How hopeful is left to question, since as he often does at the end of his films, Almodovar reverts to a tableau approach, keeping his distance from the characters and keeping their full emotions out of our range.)
If it isn’t as successful as his very best work, neither is it a failure — and there are certainly enough Alomodovarisms to bring a smile to anyone’s face (pay particular attention to the plot of Leo’s attempt at a serious novel — it’d make a great Almodovar picture).
Before you comment
The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.