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Critic's Pick

'The Flower of My Secret'

October 18, 1998|Kevin Thomas

This 1995 film certainly sounds like a Pedro Almodovar movie, yet it marks a decided departure for the prodigious Spanish director. You could even say, to borrow from one of Almodovar's most famous titles, that it's about 'a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.' This time, however, Almodovar tells his story in a lower key than ever before, with all his usual compassion but without his trademark outrageousness. The film could be described as a serious comedy, its humor growing out of a keen sense of life's absurdities. When near the end of the film his heroine refers to George Cukor's "Rich and Famous," you realize how much "The Flower of My Secret" is in the tradition of Cukor--elegant, witty, wise and deeply caring of women. An intimate, beautifully wrought work, one of the director's best, it reflects a new maturity in Almodovar's work and stars Marisa Paredes (right with Rossy de Palma) as an attractive, successful woman at a crossroads in both her personal and professional lives (TMC early Wednesday at 3:25 a.m. and Friday at 8 a.m.).

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