Drama | Romance
Spain | USA
Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Penélope Cruz, Chris Messina, Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn, Pablo Schreiber, Carrie Preston, Zak Orth, Julio Perillan, Christopher Evan Welch
Two American friends, conventional Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and open-minded Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) are spending the summer in Barcelona and become enamored with the same painter (Javier Bardem), unaware that his ex-wife (Penéleope Cruz) is about to re-enter the picture.
Done with the London trilogy that revolved around romance, but mostly crime, Allen decided to stick around Europe and used Spain's magical location to make "Vicky Cristina Barcelona", a brilliant, and refreshing romantic drama.
Once again Woody Allen presented us with a quite simple story and he made it very intriguing and engaging thanks to a brilliant turn of events.
And of course it is not just a romantic drama, but an exploration of the human mind and soul, if that makes any sense. The film is related to art, and freedom and loses oneself only to pursuit the real version of oneself. And to love, and passion. And it shows the benefits of going all in, even if that means getting burned. And it reaches a level of maturity that has been lacking in Allen films for decades.
The film is also a very interesting character study about relationships but I won't add anything else because I don't want to spoil the film for you if you haven't seen it yet.
The film is also plenty of great and witty dialogue. And a narration which has received so much criticism but that, in my opinion, is very useful to depict complexity of relationships. And it also add that feeling of fate to the story which works pretty good for me.
And finally there's the cast. Those people blew me away. It is not Scarlett Johansson or Rebecca Hall respectively playing Cristina and Vicky, nor Javier Bardem playing the painter, even though they all give good performances, but Penélope Cruz playing Bardem's ex-wife. She is simply terrific as Maria Elena, and she is arguably the best part of the film. She is sexy and fierce and she has the biggest laughs, not because she is doing comedy but because she is just being crazy. But completely believable. And I almost forgot to mention the wonderful sexual tension between the main characters.