The Patricia Clarkson role is vital in this film, without wanting to give too much away. And what a good actress she is, adding something substantially to every film I've seen her in. She is not in a leading role here, but these are expertly cast too, so that as usual you feel Allen is guiding you masterfully through the twists and turns of the plot. These are compelling, I found. At times the film reminded me a bit of Jules et Jim, with a menage a trois complete with bikes and country lanes ... and a charmingly insinuating soundtrack. And the theme of mental instability is also a parallel ... Penelope Cruz really pushes her character to an extreme but it works very well in the context (in line with the Jeanne Moreau character, but physically more in the mould of Sophia Loren) and she looks fabulous too, as do both American girls. It is one of those films that manage to be very entertaining and reflect interestingly on real life as well, and with depth, even if the beauty quotient is improbably high! And the ending is perfectly judged, leaving you wondering how Allen can turn out films of this calibre - or even better - so regularly. Perhaps it falls a little short of his very best, in that the portrayal of the 'artist' is a bit superficial and it doesn't quite feel as if the culture has been absorbed. As, indeed, it hasn't by its American characters. Nevertheless the handling of the plot is superb, and it does suggest how we may discover things about ourselves precisely when we are not in our own environment.