Monday, August 18, 2008

Movie Review: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

This weekend, I decided to go out and actually see a movie, and no I didn't go see Tropic Thunder or The Dark Knight Returns. No, I went to see Woody Allen's new flick, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. And wonders never cease, I not only thoroughly enjoyed it, I really really want to go to Barcelona now.

The movie is about two women in their early twenties, Vicky and Cristina, who spent two months in Barcelona. Vicky is working on her thesis on Catalan culture while Cristina is a free spirit who is just along for the ride. Lucky for Vicky she has a relative who lives in a huge gorgeous apartment with her husband (this place even has a small, outdoor, pool!). Vicky is practical, serious and engaged to Doug, who has a job that lets him work from Europe whenever he wants. Cristina, the free spirit, hops from relationship to relationship, and has no clear career path, she just wants to do something artistic. She's written, directed and starred in a 12 minute movie about love. Both women's lives change when they meet Juan Antonio played by the delicious Javier Bardem who has ditched the awful Prince Valient hairdo the Coen brother's forced him to wear in No Country For Old Men. I don't want to spoil the movie but Penelope Cruz plays Juan Antonio's crazy ex-wife. And can I say I never realized just how beautiful she was until this movie?

What did I like about this movie? Well for one thing, Woody Allen wasn't in it, and 2) Woody Allen wasn't in it. I don't know about other people, but I was getting tired of his existential shtick, and the fact that all of his leading ladies were younger than me. Seriously, Helena Bonham Carter and Mia Sorvino from Mighty Aphrodite? Younger than me, and the Woodman? Old enough to be my grandfather (well okay my father, but you know what I mean.). This movie was about making choices, and whether or not one should take the risk on something unfamiliar and scary, or stick with the safe. Which is not exactly a new idea with Woody but it came across as charming in this movie.

I'm still not sure if Scarlett Johanssen can act or if she just looks pretty, but Rebecca Hall (the daughter of English director Sir Peter Hall) can and well. Even Penelope Cruz impressed me enough that I might have to take Volver out of the library and some of her other Spanish language films.

And as I said, I'm dying to go to Barcelona. Perhaps in March?


Kwana said...

Thanks for the review and no Woody Allen, heck I may see it.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

You are welcome, although I'm going to warn you. You'll want to pack off the kids with Nana and head off to Barcelona with Will, or heck take the kids with you.