I first watched this film with my best friend on a rainy day in Cambridge, in 2009. We both thoroughly enjoyed the film and it also left us extremely keen to visit Barcelona, hence a trip is on the cards for next year!
Vicky Cristina Barcelona has an ensemble cast that I love; Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall. The film follows two best friends (Vickie and Cristina) on holiday in Barcelona. They are both very different personalities.
Vicky (Hall) is reserved, cautious and clever. Vicky is studying for her Masters in Catalan Studies. She is engaged to the nice, but slightly dull and ‘safe’ Doug. Cristina (Johansson) is a creative, free spirit who is single. She goes from one bad relationship to another and doesn’t know what to do with her life, so she decides to tag along with Vicky to Barcelona.
Whilst staying at Vicky’s godparents, the girls explore Barcelona and meet seductive artist, Juan Antonio (Bardem). They both like him and vice versa, but the reserved Vicky keeps this to herself and Cristina embarks on a relationship with Juan Antonio. Throw into the mix the beautiful, but unstable, Maria Elena (Cruz) who turns up….Juan Antonio’s ex-wife who still loves him.
The real leading lady, after Penelope’s brilliant Oscar-winning turn as Maria Elena, is Barcelona itself. Arty, creative, passionate and bewitching, much like Juan Antonio beckoning Vickie into something new and wonderful, with an element of risk. Originally, Woody Allen wrote a screenplay that was based in San Francisco, I really cannot imagine this film anywhere else except Barcelona.
Vicky: “No. Look, I’m not free. I’m committed. You know what my theory is? And when I drink, I get brutally frank. I think that you’re still hurting from the failure of your marriage to Maria Elena, and you’re trying to lose yourself in empty sex.”
Why do I love this film? Vicky represents the cautious, ‘do what’s right’ side, play it safe side of myself. Part of me is similar to Cristina, creative and still not sure what to do with my life. I like the realness that Woody Allen brings to the relationships between these characters and whilst realistic, this film is still nonetheless charming and romantic..