Movie: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

The new Woody Allen movie is…alright. I thought it was a good movie, but not so overwhelming that I need to encourage anyone and everyone to get out there right!now! and see it.

The story starts with two ingenues, touristas Americanas, as Penelope Cruz states scathingly later in the movie. The theme is love and and its impact on life, mostly in how it can completely destabilize even the best laid plans (Vicky) and how it can lead to continual transience and search for the true thing (Cristina). The two women are a little too archetypal for my tastes, but it is a nice, if not the most original, conceit.

The highlight of the movie is Penelope Cruz and to a lesser extent, Javier Bardem. Penelope Cruz plays an unstable artist with self-proclaimed genius that is most likely a true claim. Her outbursts and rage have a constant undercurrent of frustration- something is missing, something can’t be expressed. This yearning for completion underscores many of Cruz’s scenes and the emotional state underlying her outbursts is complex and nuanced.

Javier Bardem plays a man in love with three women and never one at a time. His suffering comes from his inability to be with the one he is supposed to be with simply because in the end, they can’t be together. Very tortured.

The lighting in the movie is beautiful, as is the setting. But then, I’m rather partial to most things Spanish.

In the end, it seems the message is that in order to find happiness, you need to know the unknowable. While my view on love isn’t quite so doomed from the start, it’s a good movie that is a pleasant watch.

Leave a Reply