The Flower of My Secret **1/2
For the first time since becoming interested in the works of Almodovar, I have seen a disappointment. I have been spoiled by his interesting stories, his brilliant combination of drama and dark humor, and his compelling and dense characters. However, with "The Flower of My Secret" all the usual elements are there, except they done very weakly, as if he put zero effort into the writing process. This was just a poorly written film. Almodovar obviously put more work behind the camera than he did planning the story.
Originally released in 1995, "The Flower of My Secret" tells the story of Leo, a middle aged woman whose husband is always abroad in the army. On the rare chance that she is able to see him, it is obvious that their marriage will not work out for much longer. Leo is a writer, but she doesn't want to reveal anything about her personal life. To cure this problem, she writes under a fake name, Amanda Gris, and tells wonderful romance stories, with characters whose problems all end up alright in the end. However, she doesn't want to write these kind of stories anymore, and has come up with a dark thriller story which her publishers refuse to publish under the name Amanda Gris. And to top it off, her story, entitled "The Cold Storage Room," suddenly has a plot very similar to a movie that was just greenlit, leading Leo to think that somebody stole it. And then there is her mother, an overly dramatic woman who lives with her other daughter, and always talks about moving out of the house, and returning back to the village where she used to live. Along with wanting to change her literary style, Leo has to change a few other things in her life. She meets a newspaper editor who suddenly becomes interested in her. But changing your entire life isn't as easy as it sounds. . .
As his other films prove, Almodovar understands women, and seems to encompass a part of himself into his female characters. Leo wants to change her writing style, and this does seem to be a bit of a change for Almodovar. This isn't the same type of film as "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," and it's not the Almodovar I've come to know and love. And while change is usually a good thing, it just doesn't work here. I found myself bored through much of Leo's journey to change. The humor is certainly there, mostly with the over dramatic scenes, where Leo believes that she is the only person in the world. Take the scene where she puts on a pair of her husbands boots, as a tribute to him. She can't take them off, and she wanders around the streets, offering a homeless man a large sum of money if he can take her boots off. The world suddenly has to stop simply because she can't take a pair of boots off. Almodovar has the makings of a good story, but for some reason the execution was off. It's not a terrible film, but it's simply a disappointment. At this point, I've come to expect something always special from Almodovar, and it seems like that notion is simply a fantasy.