In 2011 Woody Allen directed a love letter to Paris of the 1920s with Midnight in Paris; in 2012 he gave us the quirky and hilarious To Rome with Love. Prior to these two gems, Allen presented us with 2008’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. To me, these three movies create the perfect trifecta of Allen’s Europe.
Set in Barcelona (with a side trip out to Oviedo), VCB follows the lives of two American girls over the course of one summer — Vicky (played by Rebecca Bell), the betrothed intellect and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), the passionate artist.
One day they meet a handsome Spaniard, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), and at some point along the way the two ladies become entwined in his life, which also happens to include his ex-wife, Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz).
At times this movie is as dramatic as a Spanish telenovela, but given the circumstances these characters find themselves in, I think this is fitting. VCB is also full of beautiful visuals, and I’m not just talking about the scenery *cough* Javier Bardem *cough* (Javier, if you can hear me, please never bleach your hair again like you did for Skyfall). Plus, Penelope Cruz puts on yet another fantastic performance as the troubled ex-wife. Give this woman any role and she can play it.
I honestly wish that Woody continues to make films set in the romantically beautiful cities of Europe. One can only hope that he does.