High Heels

The plot of Pedro Almodovar’s goofy 1991 melodrama has more twists than a rattlesnake, but whether it’s meant mainly for laughs or for more serious engagement isn’t always clear, because it keeps shifting back and forth between modes. The story centers on the reunion of an aging pop star (Marisa Paredes) and her grown daughter (Victoria Abril), a TV anchorwoman, after a 15-year separation. The daughter’s husband, who owns the TV station where she works, turns out to be the mother’s former lover, and after he’s found murdered a number of bizarre facts are brought to light, including the diverse involvements of a female impersonator (Miguel Bose) who specializes in tributes to the mother. The results oscillate between Almodovar’s characteristically flaky irreverence and a more solemn treatment of the relationship between mother and daughter that intermittently suggests Douglas Sirk without his ironies. It’s a lot more fun to watch than Almodovar’s previous Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, but those who miss the wildness of his premainstream work will probably be only partially appeased. In Spanish with subtitles. 112 min. (JR)

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