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Vicky Cristina Barcelona
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VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA MOVIE
It must be true that getting out of town can do a fellow a lot of good, because Vicky Cristina Barcelona is the best movie Woody Allen has made in years. Okay, you're right, 2006's Match Point already claimed that honor and, as Allen's first film made in England, established the virtues of getting away from overfamiliar territory (namely Manhattan). But the Woodman's first film made in Spain matches the ice-cold Match Point for crisp authority, and yields a good deal more sheer pleasure besides. Rebecca Hall (Vicky) and Scarlett Johansson (Cristina) play two young Americans, best friends, spending a summer in Catalonia. Vicky is going for a master's in "Catalan identity" (though her Spanish is shaky); Cristina is going along for, oh, just about anything. That soon includes celebrated abstract artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), who's anything but abstract in his forthright proposition that the two join him in his private plane, his travels, and his bed. That he has an insane ex-wife, Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz), who may or may not have tried to kill him is not really an issue until the wife reappears and ... well, consider the possibilities. Vicky Cristina Barcelona isn't exactly a comedy, at least not in the manner of Allen's "early, funny ones," but it's informed by a rueful wit that finds its fullest expression in reflective voiceover commentary. Spoken by Christopher Evan Welch, but surely on behalf of the 73-year-old auteur, this element of the film is neither (as some have charged) patronizing nor uncinematic; rather, it's integral to the movie's participation in a venerable European literary tradition, the sentimental education. Instead of Bergman or Fellini, this time Allen is invoking the François Truffaut of Jules and Jim and Eric Rohmer in his many meditations on the game of love. The entire cast is terrific (both Hall and Johansson get to play "the Woody part" at different points), with Bardem and Cruz especially delightful as exemplars of Old Worldliness. Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe honors every drop of Catalonian sunlight and glint of Gaudí architecture. --Richard T. Jameson --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I especially appreciated the scenes in Spanish between Bardem and Cruz(subtitled, of course). The barely suppressed violence, the instability of their relationship. The menage a trois is artfully managed; the sexuality is without overt nudity. Strongly recommended as one of the best of 2008.
entertaining, diverting one, with two terrific performances by Javier
Bardem and Penelope Cruz, a very good one by Rebecca Hall, and a decent
one by Scarlett Johanssen.
The key flaw for me-- Johanssen's character comes off as very shallow, so the complexity
of her relationships with Bardem and Cruz never seem more than
adolescent. I realize that's ultimately part of the point of the film,
but here it's way too obvious from minute one, not something we slowly
discover, and in turn that keeps the film from
ultimately feeling deeper and more complex.
None-the-less, a romantic bittersweet film I've enjoyed well enough to go back and re-watch.
Interestingly, even more than most of Allen's films this seems to ignite very different reactions
from viewer to viewer, so I'd encourage you to check it out for yourself
if you have any interest in the elements.
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for"
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):
1. There's Vicky (Rebecca Hall)
2. There's Cristina (Scarlett Johansson)
3. There's Barcelona (the place in Spain, with the rain on the plain)
4. There's your movie title
5. Vicky and Cristina visit Barcelona one summer
6. Vicky's engaged, Cristina still hasn't found what she's looking for
7. They find Juan (Javier Bardem, who sure cleans up nicely once he puts away that captive bolt cow stunning gun)
8. He makes them an offer they can't refuse, but for different reasons
9. Wine, dinner and Spanish guitar follow
10. Things get crazy when the gorgeous ex-wife (Penelope Cruz in a wonderful scene-stealing performance) shows up
11. They manage a ménage
12. Deux, trois, quatre - what's the difference?
13. All good things ......
14. ..... and we come to the end
This is a rich and riotous recount of romance and reckless relationships, loaded with love, lust and loathing and lastly, leaving and longing.
Recommended for fans of:
1. Woody Allen's better movies
2. Movies with narrators
3. A de-Chigurh-ed and positively smoldering Bardem
4. Muy caliente Penelope Cruz
5. That Scarlett chick
Woody Allen's humor won't work for everyone. His earlier work did contain significant amounts of physical humor and jokes, but I think he's at his best when he writes more seriously. Vicky Cristina Barcelona falls into that category. It's an examination of human nature, more than a comedy, but there are still plenty of amusing scenes.
What qualities do you find attractive in a romantic partner? Allen asks that question, and uses Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) to show two very different views. Vicky seeks stability, and likes to know what to expect from her man. Cristina is more of a free spirit, and wants her partners to have a similar outlook on life. Vicky has her future carefully planned, and is due to marry, whereas Cristina is still exploring and trying to find exactly what it is she is looking for. The thing is, she isn't sure what that is.
Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) is an artist, and boldly asks the two women to take a trip with him. He openly says that they will all make love during the trip.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Let's face facts, Woody Allen has long since ceased to be relevant to cinema and seems to make "films" based around this narrow New York bubble he exists in. Read morePublished on July 26 2010 by Brian Maitland
Four good acting performances, an amazing location (Barcelona) and a basically interesting story are completely ruined by the constant chat-chat-chat of the most annoying (and... Read morePublished on May 25 2010 by Bri