Broken Embraces (Spanish: Los abrazos rotos) is a 2009 Spanish romantic thriller film written, produced, and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Led by an ensemble cast consisting of many Almodóvar regulars, it stars Lluís Homar as a blind Madrilenian screenwriter who recalls his tragic love for Lena, played by Penélope Cruz, the deceased lead actress in his last directional feature Girls and Suitcases, who was also the mistress of a powerful, obsessive businessman (José Luis Gómez). Blanca Portillo co-stars as his agent Judit, while Tamar Novas portrays her son and Caine's co-writer Diego.
Inspired by darkness and by a photo of a couple, that Almodóvar took of El Golfo beach in Lanzarote in the late 1990s, the film serves as an homage to filmmaking, cinema and its various film genres. Stylistically, it is a complex noir-ish melodrama, that also blends comic elements with a film within a film—a broad comedy, that hearkens back to Almodóvar's 1988 release, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Thematically, Broken Embraces addresses themes like voyeurism, repression, prostitution, death, vengeance, fixation, illness, and drugs.
Broken Embraces was one of the films competing for the Palme d'Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Dubbed "purest Almodóvar" by The New Yorker, the film was noted for the director's characteristic "bright primary colors," erotic subject matter, and meticulous, "visually pulsating" cinematography. The picture was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at both the 2009 British Academy Film Awards and the 67th Golden Globe Awards.
"Harry Caine" is a blind writer who shares his life with his agent Judit and her adult son, Diego. Slowly, events in the present begin to bring back memories of the past. Harry hears that millionaire Ernesto Martel has died; a young filmmaker, Ray X, appears and turns out to be Martel's son, Ernesto, Jr. After Diego is hospitalized for an accidental drug overdose in a Madrid nightclub, Harry collects Diego from the hospital and looks after him to avoid worrying his traveling mother. The main storyline is told in flashback as Harry reluctantly tells Diego a tragic tale of fate, jealousy, abuse of power, betrayal, and guilt.