Saturday, January 25, 2014

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) [PG-13] ****

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) is a graduate student who's been invited to spend the summer with relatives in Barcelona, while she researches her thesis on Catalan Identity. Vicky is an attractive brunette who lives a planned, rigidly constructed lifestyle, and who is engaged to a driven New York businessman. She's accompanied by Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), her college roommate, who is Vicky's exact opposite. Cristina is a beautiful blonde, wildly curious, sexually adventurous, and with a go-with-the-flow philosophy. Their summer in Barcelona centers on Juan Antonio Gonzalo (Javier Bardem), an unconventional artist with a Van Gogh-like lust for life, and a passionate, but mentally unhinged ex-wife Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz) who once tried to kill him. Although Vicky is initially contemptuous of Juan Antonio, and is incredulous when Cristina becomes fascinated by him, it is Vicky who falls hardest for him, while recognizing that he's the antithesis of her fiancé.

Superbly written and directed by Woody Allen, Vicky and Cristina give us thoughtful dialogue as well as character growth and evolution, while Juan Antonio satisfies our expectations as the stereotypical Latin lover who exists to gratify his senses while thrilling Vicky and Cristina, giving them more than enough material for a lifetime of memories, dreams and reflections. Penélope Cruz won a 2009 Oscar and a 2009 Goya (Spanish Oscar) for her supporting role. The film also won a 2009 Golden Globe for best picture, as well as Golden Globe nominations for Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall and Penélope Cruz. If you are a fan of Woody Allen or any of the four leading actors, or you simply enjoy well-crafted film making, don't miss Vicky Cristina Barcelona. 

Labels: cross-cultural, drama, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 70/100    
Tomatometer (critics=82, viewers=73)    

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