About a month late, I thought I’d lend a thought to Woody Allen’s relatively new film, Vicky Christina Barcelona. The film, so obviously an Allen film, characterized by an underlying darkness and undefinable sense of longing, or loss, stars Scarlett Johansson (Match Point, Lost in Translation), Penelope Cruz (Volver, Vanilla Sky), and Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men). Rebecca Hall (The Prestige) also stars, and, in my opinion, becomes the reason for the film’s semi-disheartening tone.
Vicky (Hall) and Christina (Johansson) are two friends venturing to Spain for very different reasons; Vicky for a romantic distraction from a failed love life – a constant need/want for reality’s drama – and inspiration for a newly-aquired love of photography, and Christina for research, as well as a pre-marriage getaway. Their venture through Barcelona leads them to an introduction to Juan Antonio (Bardem), an artist and a man that goes too far beyond any preconceived notion of a Spanish Don Juan, and soon, both girls, admittedly or not, are enamored by him. Juan Antonio’s past becomes the present when his ex-wife, Maria Alena (Cruz), comes back into his life. Cruz is, without a doubt, the comedic touch to this Allen movie, and coupled with intensities from all other actors, creates a beautiful film deserving the reputation Allen is now carrying. The film is narrated, which distances audiences from the story a bit, but provides a humorous story-telling to the blatantly obvious.
I’d see it again, and probably again. A-