Narrowly beating Fatal Attraction to the screen in 1987, Pedro Almodóvar’s The Law of Desire concerns a similarly unhealthy relationship, although in the director’s colorfully kinky Spain, the dangerous romance is shared by adult film director Pablo (Eusebio Poncela) – a sexually promiscuous artist whose last lover Juan couldn’t quite reciprocate Pablo’s love and thus left to work at a coastal town’s lighthouse – and his new stalkerazzi lover Antonio, who’s fandom quickly morphs into frightening obsession. The director embellishes this primary storyline with incest, rampant cocaine use, promiscuity, and jabs at the Catholic Church, as well as with a secondary plot involving Pablo’s transsexual lesbian sister Tina (the sensually chic Carmen Maura), a budding actress taking care of her ex-lover’s daughter while working on Pablo’s stage version of Cocteau’s The Human Voice (a monologue about a woman and a suitcase that formed the basis for Almodóvar’s subsequent Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown). The plot is set in motion by Pablo, who, dissatisfied with Juan’s first letter home, writes an idealistic replacement letter that expresses the longings and sadness Juan didn’t convey in his own letter, sends it to Juan to sign, and then has Juan send it back to him. When new boy-toy Antonio discovers this missive, his clingy behavior goes from mild to maniacal, eventually throwing both men’s lives into sweaty, sexy tumult. Pablo’s typewriter and, by extension, his fiction writing – not only the author’s screenplays and plays, but also this fake letter to/by Juan – becomes both an outlet for his desires and frustrations (he’s writing a new play about Tina’s transexuality) and the cause for his sexual and emotional frustrations. Almodóvar’s affection for his characters’ foibles and fetishistic carnal appetites makes his engagingly loopy narrative more than a simple Telemundo-on-acid joke, and his boldly candid depiction of homosexual love – including a couple of amorous go-rounds between Pablo and Antonio which exude the heavy panting hysteria of unbridled lust – contributes to the film’s hot-blooded vigor. That said, I can’t help but shake the feeling that, had Banderas exhibited similar homosexual desire in his American movie debut, the dashing Spanish actor’s Hollywood career would have sunk faster than a stone.