High Heels feels like a shift in Pedro Almodóvar's filmmaking, towards the latter period that I find so satisfying. It has removed a good deal of the manic hysteria, replacing it with a more melancholic story. However, it remains an early Pedro Almodóvar film with a fairly melodramatic plot, some whiplash change of tones and occasionally inauthentic story beats. It is a film that wants to be Autumn Sonata, which it references in its script, but it is more pre-code Barbara Stanwyck than Ingmar Bergman.
High Heels is a lot of fun, with some very fine scenes. It balances the dark humour with the plot machinations, making this mystery less mysterious and more about a mother-daughter relationship. It is well designed, with some great musical sequences. The final scene is especially affecting, and does a lot of emotional lifting to make me ultimately be quite positive to what is an uneven film.
Solid Pedro Almodóvar filmmaking.