LA FLOR DE MI SECRETO is from Pedro's transitional 1990s period of making films with deeper emotional resonance than those that brought him fame the previous decade, with a stronger cinematic language and more rounded characters.
Magnificent Marisa Paredes is Leo, whose obsession for her
absent - physically and emotionally - army husband Paco is driving her to
alcoholic despair. Leo ghostwrites successful romance novels but
cannot deliver the vacuous fodder her publisher wants as her
writing is reflecting her anguish.
They reject Leo's latest novel and threaten to expose her
as the real 'Amanda Gris' if she does not fulfill her contract, but Leo, who wants to write serious literature, is helped when a sympathetic magazine
editor Ángel offers her a job as a literary critic.
Leo breaks down when Paco finally rejects her, but her publishers are thrilled with the 'Amanda Gris' novel they have received - but who wrote it?
Shelf or charity shop? The ravishingly-photographed LA FLOR DE MI SECRETO surprises me every time I watch it with Marisa Paredes' wonderful performance and supporting contributions from Juan Echanove as Ángel, Imanol Arias as Paco, Rossy de Palma and Chus Lampreave so it's a keeper - Almodóvar even manages to sneak flamenco sensation Joaquín Cortés into the film in a sub-plot!