Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a Woody Allen film from his Scarlett Johansson phase. Two American girls visit Barcelona. Vicky is a practical girl engaged to a successful businessman and finishing her masters degree in Catalan identity. Cristina is aspiring visual artist that just finished filming a short that will get her no where. In Barcelona they meet a flamboyant, mysterious Spanish painter with a disastrous and dysfunctional relationship with his ex-wife. Cristina takes an instant liking to the painter while Vicky tries to protect Cristina in vain only to fall for the painter herself. Cristina gets drawn into the dysfunctional relationship until everything simply comes apart.
The chemistry of this film is just amazing. Javier does such a masterful turn as a sexually-charged middle-aged artist who’s a magnet for women trouble. Of course, the show stealer of this film is the Academy Award winning performance from Penelope Cruz who does such a wonderful job as Javier’s mentally unstable ex-wife. Her Spanish tirades delivered with just the right mix of malice and ferocity in her eyes, the way she smiles without smiling while delivering slurs and extreme volatility is really amazing and well worth the price of admission.
It’s a funny and engaging film from beginning to end. Barcelona is an excellent backdrop full of rich scenery and the sonic backdrop of Spanish guitars makes it all the more exquisite. The film is rich with themes about relationships and the nature of love.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona