Wednesday, March 4, 2009
In my living room: Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Cold weather here on the East Coast brings with it a strong reliance on indoor activities for entertainment. In addition to baking and cooking, I've started watching a lot of movies... movies that are currently out in theaters, but that I mysteriously get to watch in my living room or on my laptop. Hmmm..... I wonder how that could be possible.... Regardless of the moral implications, I've watched some pretty damn good movies lately. In an effort to post more often, I've decided to review them individually and share my thoughts. First up, a film I got through Netflix, not illegally:
Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Friends Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) spend a summer in Barcelona with Vicky's distant relatives. Vicky is a down-to-Earth, pragmatic graduate student who is engaged to Doug. Cristina is spontaneous, curious, and seems to be a little lost in life. They meet Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), an artist, and he invites them to spend the weekend with him in a little town called Oviedo. Vicky is reluctant at first, but Cristina convinces her that it might be fun. Over the weekend, Cristina is prepared to sleep with Juan Antonio, but falls ill with food poising. While she spends the remainder of the weekend in bed, Vicky decides to make the most of the trip by accompanying Juan Antonio to visit the local sites. They go to a museum, take walks, have dinner, and eventually develop a strong attraction to each other. Juan Antonio tells her about the explosive relationship he had with his ex-wife, Maria Elena (played by Oscar-winning actress Penelope Cruz). Upon returning to Barcelona, Vicky throws herself into her graduate studies to try and forget about the weekend, while Juan Antonio calls Cristina back to Oviedo to live with him. Maria Elena violently reenters the picture, and the three of them have a tumultuous affair.
I won't go any further into the story, as I've probably already said too much. But I must say, this movie was right up my alley: European setting, art, foreign tongues, hot actors, witty dialogue, and a plausible storyline that keeps you interested. The narration surprisingly works, and the music is fantastic. The movie captures the different relationships among the characters in a very honest, very frank manner that doesn't leave you going, "Yeah right." There were certain scenes that really hit home for me, and I couldn't help wondering how many other people could relate. Kudos, Woody Allen. I approve.