Vicky Christina Barcelona
Release Year: 2008
Director: Woody Allen
Sccreenwriter(s): Woody Allen
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Chris Messina, Kevin Dunn, Patricia Clarkson, Christopher Evan Welch (narrator)
Rating: Won 1 Oscar: Best Supporting Actress (Penélope Cruz)
Close friends Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Christina (Scarlett Johansson) go on vacation in Barcelona where they meet the painter Juan Antonio (Jarvier Bardem). They are both enarmored with him but unaware that his ex-wife (Penelope Cruz), with whom he has a rather tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the scene.
Vicky Christina Barcelona is the story of two women whose encounter with the Spanish artist Juan Antonio affect them deeply although in different ways. Vicky (Rebecca Hall) is at first reluctant as she is about to be married to a man she loves (a likeable Chris Messina) but succumbs to Juan Antonio’s charms. After Vicky is married, Christina begins a commited relationship with Juan Antonio in which his mentally unstable ex-wife (a radiant Penélope Cruz) becomes an intricate part. Both women change a lot over the course of the movie and it’s very interesting to watch them grow with a beautifully shot Spain as a backdrop. Despite very much connected in spirit to its Spanish surroundings, we are still treated to East coast American rich people and their materialistic and morally conservative views as they clash with the Southern European philosophy the two friends become more and more attracted to. In one way, Vicky Christina Barcelona is a treatment of the nature of relationships and marriage, on the other it is a about realising one’s true self and emotional and physical attraction of sensible love. As part of Woody Allen’s cicle of European set films, this is one of the better ones, full of interesting characters, pleasant music, and lovely scenery. As the two friends’ storylines become more separate, Allen effortlessly tie the two together so that a jump from one storyline to another never seems forced. The movie is narrated, which might be off-putting to some, but if you do not mind narration you’ll find Christopher Evan Welch’s (Lincoln 2012) wonderful to listen to; at times it feels like a spendidly read adiobook with beautiful Pictures. Definitely worthy of a warm recommendation although it is not likely to convert those who are not admirers of Allen’s Work.
The movie Vicky (Rebecca Hall) goes to see with the character Ben is Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943)