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Vicky Cristina Barcelona
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Woody Allen writes and directs this romantic comedy drama, his fourth consecutive film to be shot outside the United States. When two young American friends, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), spend a summer in Barcelona, they both become infatuated with flamboyant artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem). Things are further complicated when Juan's emotionally unstable ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz, in an Oscar-winning performance) reappears on the scene, and chaos soon reigns as the characters become amorously entangled to varying degrees.
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How the film evolved in the first 20 minutes made me watch it to the end, but wanting more of it.
Loved the way Barcelona was filmed, great encapsulation of the streets and less known sites of the city.
I found the film helpful in the way that many people try to find themselves, in romance, happiness and purpose in life.
It's a must if your looking for clever comedy, drama and great characters.
In this great Woody Allen -film you get to see Barcelona with the eyes of the tourist. It is a city where the senses are stirred, and awakened.
Vicky and Cristina are two young students, who have very different attitudes to studying.
One studies something really obscure, but planned in detail, just as her life is planned.
The Other is ( romantically ) un-planned. She is easily distracted, and her love life, too, is quite un-planned, and full of distractions.
Both are, like students mostly are, experiencing their own 'Education Sentimentale'.
This education of feelings is speeded up by staying in Barcelona, and by the sensuous affair they both have with one and the same man( javier Bardem ).
The end result of their emotional earthquake is that the calculating, strategically gifted Vicky, gets more self-knowledge, while the romantically
inclined Cristina seems not to get to know herself better. She will probably go on repeating her passionate relations, until she eventually may have learned her lessons in life - or not.
Both types of women, the calculating, and the romantic, can be found in earlier Woody Allen films.
In 'Vicky-Cristina-Barcelona' there is no prejudice, kindness and wisdom rule here.
Bodil Marie - Revisiting Romanticism.
That aside, as a film in its own right, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will watch it again and come back to it over the years. The strong cast is an added bonus, and the Oscar for Cruz was thoroughly deserved. As for Javier Bardem - his range is amazing, having been basically the psychotic central character in "No Country For Old Men", to then transform into this romantic and seductive character in Allen's film, is a testament to his unlimited abilities as an actor. Brilliant.
On the subject of the voice over - it's neither annoying nor adding anything, but it is what it is - part of the movie and as long as you don't try to over-analyse that too, then it's not a problem.
Watch it, enjoy it, and you will find yourself with a smile on your face.