I am a big, big Woody Allen fan, and have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of his most recent movie, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, on DVD. I just watched it, and it did not disappoint. It was wonderful.
Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johannson) are American tourists in Barcelona for the summer. Vicky is a regimented, practical student of Catalan identity, and Cristina is a free-spirited filmmaker, fresh off the disappointment of her first project, a 12-minute film about why people can't seem to find what they want from love. Both girls become involved, physically and emotionally, with a sensual, hot-blooded Spanish painter, Juan Antonio Gonzalo (Javier Bardem), who recently divorced from his sensual, hot-blooded, completely insane ex-wife, Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz).
While the film might sound a little intense - and it is - it is also a classic Woody Allen dramedy. In the same way New York has served for so many of Allen's films as a character in its own right, so here does the city of Barcelona, which only serves to make the story even more emotional, beautiful and interesting. Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz (real-life romantic partners) show what great chemistry they have in this story. Bardem, in particular, makes a wonderful turn as the tortured artist who can't seem to make good use of his talent without a woman by his side. His appeal to Vicky, Cristina and Maria Elena is what drives the film - they are obviously representative of the many facets of his personality.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona was charming, funny, intense and beautiful - sure to be one day considered a classic among Woody Allen's films. I knew as soon as the soundtrack (which is also amazing - I've already purchased the soundtrack!) and the narration (another trait of Allen's that is used well with this film) began that I was going to love this movie, and I did.