Director and Screenplay: Woody Allen
Let’s talk about unbalanced relationships and insecurities shall we?
Vicky and Cristina are two friends who go on vacation to Barcelona where they get involved in a love adventure with a seductive spanish guy who basically screws their minds for a while. Oh, did I mention her ex-pshyco-wife is involved too?
The characters are very well constructed and are very different from each other. Vicky is working on catalan culture, about to marry and have the life she wanted. Cristina is still searching what the hell is love and, after all, still searching for herself – she had done a short film recently and is now experimenting photography (a common interest with María Elena) and wites poetry too, so despite all her assumed searched for love, I think she’s trying different paths to also understand herself, and even her brief relationship with her newly found spanish companions are a proof of that. Juan Antonio is a painter, very affective and open minded in love and his ex-wife, María Elena, is basically a psycho bitch from hell with serious emotional problems, but they love each other fiercely. I liked María Elena because she is also very honest and I didn’t actually find as her evil as she might seem. I found her needy despite all her violence, she’s a needy hurricane. Juan Antonio, despite being the cause of all the tumultuous vacation of the two friends, seems innocent, after all he was always honest and open about his intentions. Both girls get involved with him and her reactions are different, since her personalities are different. Cristina is more open, adventurous and intuitive, while Vicky is more rational and although she may look like she’s confidant, she’s actually scared and gets to a point where she herself says so. Her perfect world and marriage are shaken by a love story she only dreamed of and she questions all her stability and future plans. Her fiancé never finds out. Cristina gets further and ends up living with Juan Antonio and eventually María Elena too, having all three a relationship that apparently works very well for Juan Antonio and his ex-wife, but ends up being too much for the blonde girl.Juan Antonio and María Elena’s relationship is a violent and fiery one. As I said, her temper is very violent but Juan Antonio just can’t live without her because of her beautiful personality underneath: carefree, artistic, a painter just like him, in fact, before him.
One can see how the girls arrive to Barcelona shinning and smiling, and how they leave wrecked. Yes, this all happens only on their vacation and one is led to think everything is going to go back to normal once they’re in America again. In my opinion, the film portraits two opposite views on love: the open minded and the ideal. Often we find people with plans and strong ideas for their lives, strong people, confident, rational and successful. And we find people who seem unstable and carefree more needy or even weak. One can see how things are not always what they look like. Successful people can very well be wearing their mask to hide they problems, while carefree people can very well be more brave and take opportunities when they see them, without fear of loosing what they supposedly have for granted. That’s what happens in this movie literally.
What also happens in this movie is a characteristic I have seen in other Woody Allen movies: the good music, the european bohemian life and the good wine (besides the love issues): always the best things of life. One can enjoy spanish guitars and dream of being on those little latin restaurants, candle lights on the table, good food and artistic environment. (I’m thinking I wish I knew what he knows, culturally. I know I still have a lot to learn and to appreciate. But damn, I love those bohemian ambiences! We can see it too in “Midnight in Paris”! A great movie that gathers many artists from another era. I shall talk about it someday.)
I found it a great movie. Specially great characters. All the issues are very direct, there’s nothing to not to much to think about, the characters themselves say what’s on their minds. But it’s interesting to see how we can feel them and relate to them in one way or another, or even how we wish to be like them. And as I said, you’ll wish you’d also be in barcelona, dinning some good food and wine and listening to spanish guitar… Don’t you think?