Vicky Cristina Barcelona – Review

2 Oct

Woody Allen is a man of many talents and phobias, which seem to really work together to aid in the creation of some unforgettable films like Annie Hall and Bananas. More recently, Allen has abandoned the city of New York for a more European approach to his film making, with an example being Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a movie that explores a depressing view of love all the while teetering the line of comedy and drama.

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) are two Americans spending their summer in the Spanish city of Barcelona. Vicky is level headed, responsible, and engaged, while Cristina relishes in her nonconformity and spontaneous behavior. Everything is right with their world until they meet the mysterious bohemian artist, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), who immediately begins to swoon the two women in ways they have never been before. This triangle of romance gets more complicated when Juan Antonio’s crazed ex-wife, María Elena (Penélope Cruz) enters back into his life with some unforeseen consequences.

One of the best parts about this movie is that it’s almost like a scenic tour of the most beautiful spots in Spain. I love movies whose stories are international, because, as a viewer, you get to see many different locales. While this isn’t technically international, since it all takes place in Spain, I still got to see great spots that I’ve never seen before. It had a new feel and I didn’t feel like I was in a city that was all too familiar.

As I’ve said before, Woody Allen has done a great job at making this film feel like a comedy, but just as much a drama. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is an oxymoron, but then again so is Woody Allen. The mood that this film radiates is very light hearted, chatty, and sometimes a little silly. But if one was to dig deeper into what the movie is actually about, they might find themselves feeling a bit hopeless. There is a theme of the fallacies of love and how there really is no such thing as a perfect romance, or even a relationship where both parties will remain happy. Allen seems to be suggesting that there are better people than the one you already have.

I have really only one complaint about this movie, and it can pretty much be said for any Woody Allen movie. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is full of what I like to call  “Woodyisms.” John, what’s a Woodyism? Let me explain. A Woodyism is a very strange, almost impossible line of dialogue that just feels really weird. The use of the term “making love” is thrown around like crazy in this movie when a much simpler word might have sufficed, and there are plenty of words to choose from. But, as I said, this is part of the odd style of Woody Allen that I really can’t get used to.

 

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is an above average comedy/drama because of the unorthodox storytelling and the characters that really are full of life and dimensions. It’s been established for many years that Woody is a powerful force in the film industry, despite his personality and appearance. While this may not be as memorable as Annie Hall, but it still is a very strong movie that I enjoyed from beginning to end. If you’re a fan of the trademark depressing humor that this film maker has perfected, I’d say give Vicky Cristina Barcelona a watch.

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