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High Heels Movie Review

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Pedro Almodovar's early films had so many outrageous trappings that it was easy for many to overlook the fact that his scripts have always been fairly conventional. His concerns as a storyteller are pretty basic: who did what, who loves whom, how do we get from here to there? It is because of Almodovar's genius for exploring the raw emotions that ignite many gnarled relationships, that his simple plot lines seem to take on a surreal quality. His ninth film, High Heels, received some lukewarm reviews, undoubtedly because it is stripped of some of the wilder elements that first put Almodovar on the map. But for those who take High Heels on its own terms, there are genuine rewards in this overlooked 1991 release. High Heels examines the troubled relationship between a television anchor woman (Victoria Abril) and her much more famous mother (Marisa Paredes). The two are in not-so-subtle competition with each other, but they are also very much in need of each other's love. They share the same name ("Rebecca") and they also share the same lover (Feodor Atkine), whom the daughter is unlucky enough to marry. The daughter is also best friends with a drag queen who impersonates her mother onstage. The drag queen has several other identities in the film and serves as something of a catalyst for the relationship between the two women. Miguel Bose also appears as a not-so-mysterious judge who investigates the murder of the younger Rebecca's husband. Since the identity of the killer is never in doubt, Almodovar focuses steadily on how the murder affects the relationships of the characters. In that respect, Almodovar does his usual clinical yet passionate job. If you want the same movie from the director every time, rent one of your old favorites on video. If you want to see what Pedro Almodovar was up to in 1991, High Heels is an absorbing, well-crafted film that's definitely worth a look. AKA: Tacones Lejanos.

1991 (R) 113m/C SP Victoria Abril, Marisa Paredes, Miguel Bose, Feodor Atkine, Bibi Andersen, Rocio Munoz; D: Pedro Almodovar; W: Pedro Almodovar; C: Alfredo Mayo; M: Ryuichi Sakamoto. Cesar Awards ‘93: Best Foreign Film. VHS, Closed Caption

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