Starring Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem
Written and Directed by Woody Allen
Woody Allen is a hit or miss type of genius – critics loved Annie Hall and Match Point, but hated Cassandra’s Dream and Melinda and Melinda. His movies either blow your mind or make you feel like you’ve blown 12 bucks at the theater. That being said, I’m a total Woody Allen neophyte, which is strange considering I’m a neurotic native New Yorker. To be honest, at first, there was nothing drawing me to Vicky Cristina Barcelona – I’m not particularly into the actors, didn’t think there was an exciting storyline, etcetera. But the hype got the better of me, so I decided to pop my Woody Allen cherry after all.The Lowdown
Two best friends, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), decide to take a summer holiday at a friend’s house in Barcelona. Vicky has just finished her Masters degree and is studying while preparing to marry her “cookie cutter” husband. Cristina has just ended another tumultuous love affair while deciding her work is useless. While on holiday, both become enamored by a sexy Spanish painter named Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) who happens to have a very tempestuous relationship with his gorgeous, ill-tempered ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz).
Consider me an official Woody Allen fan (despite some of his personal exploits that I found to be, well, disgusting.) He is brilliant and has an unbelievable way with words; a genius storyteller to say the least. Everything about this movie seemed natural from the actor’s performances to even the down-to-earth wardrobe selection. Throughout the film, you come to understand each character and what it is they yearn and search for. Some of the performances were exceptional. Penelope Cruz could be a definite Oscar contender in my opinion. Javier Bardem, fresh off his Oscar win for No Country For Old Men is back in fine, finnnnne form, in case that hateful bowl cut made you forget. And as for that girl-on-girl seduction in the darkroom? Guys wipe the drool from your face because it is far too over-hyped. Other than that, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a total frickin’ winner.