Rembrandt Q Pumpernickel’s review published on Letterboxd:
What a self consciously arty, turd of a film. From the very beginning, the film is about exposing its own artifice as melodrama and soap opera, but to what end? To see itself as better than those things, to simply posit that this is all fake, to undermine any possible emotional tie I might have to these characters?
Its lighting setups are artificial (if this weren't clear, Almodovar makes it clear with repeating the same lighting for the play within the film). Its foreshadowing shortened as to make it seem cheesy and worthless (someone almost hit by a car is actually hit by a car only a scene or two later). The act of acting is shown to be an act by having someone perform a scene for the camera and then have to live that scene in real life just a couple filmic minutes later (and for what reason, other than Almodovar patting himself on the back?). Later, a speech that makes sense in the context of the story appears to be being delivered to a character who needs to hear it, but she's actually listening to a play, very "witty." Blech.
Saved from the absolute bottom of the barrel only by Antonia San Juan's Agrado who is hilarious, powerful, and vibrant. Her speech about everyone's obsession with her cock is the clear highlight of the film. I can't believe how bland this looked, how rote the emotional beats were, and how boringly intellectual it clearly thought it was. I may be done with Almodovar forever if this is one of his "best" films.