The Flower of My Secret ★★★½

This is why I wish I could have easily watched all of Almodovar's films in order. There's a huge stylistic jump from the 80s films to here - essentially, from parodies of melodramas to a more refined version of a melodrama - but I can't really say whether or not it starts with The Flower of My Secret. This film starts out great with a scene where a mother receives some bad news about her son from her doctors, which turns out to be a classic Almodovar fake-out as the lines between reality and performance are blurred. Unfortunately, this sort of metatextual thing is dropped early on (though I believe it comes back in All About My Mother; I'll rewatch that one soon) for a loaded plot about a romance novelist with a struggling love life and a tenuous connection to her own work. It's very pretty and carefully composed, with Almodovar reinforcing the film's theme of multiple identities with a visual motif that emphasizes repeated reflections throughout the frame. However, the entire film ends up being pretty uninteresting by Almodovar standards, so its gorgeous but a bit emotionally underwhelming. My least favorite thus far.