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*** Official VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA Review Thread (1 Viewer)

Patrick Sun

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Not really know much about the story ahead of time, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I was enjoying the interplay between the characters in this film. What Woody Allen does is write characters that hook the viewer into becoming vested in seeing how relationships develop between people, and if there is a long-term future in their chemistry together. The various love triangles that the main characters find themselves bring out a lot of humor from the situations as they pretty much have to deal with tip-toeing through the minefields of love and attraction.

Rebecca Hall is the new face on the scene, and she's very good as Vicky, who has a very good idea of what she thinks she wants in life and life-long mate. Cristina (Scarlett Johannson) is more of an artistic free spirit who doesn't know what she wants, but knows what she doesn't want. Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) is the straight shooter of an artist with a lot of romantic baggage in the form of Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz in a terrific performance - she's much better when she's performing in Spanish). Mix all of these characters around, and you get an entertaining romp with Barcelona as the backdrop, and it's impossible not to savor the city's charms and view.

I give it 3 stars or a grade of B.
 

Ray H

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I saw this yesterday and really loved it. It may have unseated The Dark Knight as my favorite film of the year. I just found what it had to say about life and the search for happiness to be very truthful (or at least to my own naive self) and the movie just struck a really deep chord with me. I feel it's probably Allen's most meaningful film in nearly 20 years.

The cast is all very good. Of the leading trio of ladies, I felt Scarlett Johansson was the weakest. Her character just seemed too flat until the very end. Penelope Cruz is great, but the character is a bit out of place. Of the three, Rebecca Hall's performance absolutely floored me. She was just heartbreaking and very moving. Her character is the soul of the film.
 

Robert Crawford

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This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Tropic "Vicky Cristina Barcelona". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



Crawdaddy
 

Tim Gerdes

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I saw Vicky Cristina Barcelona last night and was very pleasantly surprised.

To qualify my review a bit, I have been a Woody Allen fan for most of my adult life. Manhattan remains one of my favorite movies of all time. The first new Woody Allen film I saw was Alice, when I was in high school. And until last year's Cassandra's Dream, I sought out each new Allen film in the theater, which, with limited release, is not always easy.

For me, Husbands and Wives is Allen's last true masterpiece, though I loved Deconstructing Harry and appreciated Match Point. Manhattan Murder Mystery, while Annie Hall lite, is just fun to watch. I think that everything else in the post Farrow era have been, to varying degrees, failures. And lately the proposition of a Woody Allen film has been one of diminishing returns—I know I should rush out to see one, but that old magic is gone.

Which brings me to Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Is it a masterpiece? No.

But it feels, for the first time in a long time, that Woody has something to say. The film isn't really a drama or a comedy, but it's both funny and serious. The acting is uniformly excellent—particularly Cruz, Hall and Bardem. I was less enamored with Johansson, but her performance here is more natural than in either Scoop or Match Point.

The dynamic between Cruz and Bardem is excellent, particularly in Spanish, which I've read was mostly improvised. On the other hand, the English dialogue remains unnatural, for me.

Watching older Allen films the actors don't seem like they're reciting, but for a film made in 2008 the dialogue, if not stilted, is novelistic. The cadence of the characters' speech is weirdly unnatural. Perhaps it's Allen's history as a playwright, but the delivery is jarring when spoken by 20-somethings.

Some of the people I saw the film with also found the narration off-putting, but it wasn't bothersome to me.

While the film can't hold a candle to Manhattan as a valentine, its love of Europe—and particularly Spain—come across well, without seeming like a travelogue.

Despite the sometimes jarring language, what surprised me most about this film how relevant it seemed. Some of the things that spoke to me: Bardem's poet father—and his reason for not publishing his work, the subtly highlighted difference between European and American cultures—particularly in how Allen addressed his hostility to technology, and finally the bittersweet ending.

While definitely not a perfect film, it was a pleasant surprise. It gave me a bit of faith that Woody can still be relevant, just maybe not once every year.
 

DavidPla

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Just saw the film tonight. I'll keep my review short. Although I don't agree with Woody Allen's views on love and certain things displayed in the movie, that didn't stop me from enjoying it immensely. So very good. And I was actually a fan of the narration.. it definitely added a "tale" tone to the film which I liked.
 

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