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The Flower of My Secret
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Leo writes romance novels - but with a loveless marriage, she finds herself fresh out of inspiration. Angel is a tough and gruff with an iron will and a heart of gold. When their paths cross, they discover something neither had expected - a real-life love affair! It's no secret that the critics are smitten with Almodovar's hip, romantic comedy, calling it "the flower of Almodovar's genius! Themost intelligent, subdued and uncannily powerful film of his career." - Matt Zoller Seitz, New YorkPress
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Combining flamenco (not seen in any other of his films), paella, romance novel ghostwriting, a crumbling marriage, a sentimental editor, a lovestarved writer, and a few other choice characters, Almodovar offers this movie treat as he would a sugary confection to his eager audience, just knowing they'll eat it up. And we do.
Leo--a woman writer--secretly writes romance novels to make a big chunk of money, but is more complex than that, savoring a long list of "suicidal woman writers"--Djuna Barnes, Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Parker, and many others. Married to a career soldier, Paco, who's too busy helping Bosnians to pay attention to Leo, she turns to her friends for help, and to the bottle, and, eventually, to a newspaper editor, Angel (a man) who takes her on after being smitten with her.
That's the story in a nutshell, but the film has the Almodovar stamp all over it. We have the feisty mother (very similar to the one in What Have I Done to Deserve This?--in fact, played by the same actress), the young stud guy, the semi-neurotic female friends/peers of the female protagonist, the misunderstood male lead(s), etc. But that's fine; the director makes the dialogue his own (he should; he wrote it, also!) and we know it's his and are all the better for it.
While not the best Almodovar, this is still very entertaining and substantially better than many other films out there.