VICKY ET CRISTINA, UN FILM
DE W. ALLEN
published August 22,
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
now playing nationwide
Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona runs from promising to intriguing to agreeably incoherent to disagreeably
incoherent to utter anarchy. A little frustrating as film, yes, but one might say it successfully mirrors the pathway of romance. It certainly
mirrors the pathway of the volcanic marriage of artists Maria and Juan Antonio (Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem), a disturbed, bickering
couple for whom “shooting from the hip” can have uncomfortable meanings.
The film traces the sensuous adventures of
two American college grads Vicky and Cristina (Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson) as they summer in Spain and become romantically entangled
with the couple. The Cristina story works well, with Scarlett Johansson delivering a free-spirited performance as the sexually adventurous
one. True, “slutty American tourist” isn’t the most novel concept, but credit where it’s due for execution. One of the nice things about
VCB, and previously The Other Boleyn Girl, is that they
suggest Johansson’s career is still recoverable.
That said, I didn’t buy the Vicky storyline
much at all. The idea that a sharp young lady with a corporate personality would mentally dump her fiancé all for a fine wine, some Spanish
guitar, and a hunky older artist strikes me as a very … how should I put this nicely? … a very Woody Allen notion.
Woody’s notions are often French, and
VCB seems like a bit of a feminized ode to one of his favorites, Francois Truffaut and Jules et Jim. The ideas here are simple, illustrating some not-exactly-head-scratching ideas about
relationships (each relationship has its own peculiar sense of balance? Go on!). But it has a pleasant way of saying it. It’s certainly one of
the more enjoyable recent Allen outings.
kevinbowen @ stageandcinema.com