The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

"Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is a really weird movie for me because I have extremely mixed feelings about it. I've seen it twice and I felt very differently about it both times.

Regardless, "VCB" is the story of two girls, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) who go for a summer in Barcelona, and end up meeting the very romantic and charismatic Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), whose rather mentally unstable ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) spices things up.

The story is extremely fun, and I really like how it works. The interactions between all the four main characters, along with the smaller characters, and all their expectations, works so well. The acting in this movie is also absolutely fantastic - of course Penelope Cruz is great, but I really think the standout is Rebecca Hall. She takes her character and makes her so interesting, and her character arc is really believable. Why the f*@# is she listed at the bottom of the poster? She's Vicky for goodness sake! Sigh. Oh and I really like Johansson in this. She's so funny/sad/seductive and it really works.

Oh, and the scenery and music are gorgeous!!! I almost want to say that's why I like this movie as much as I do.

However...there are things about this movie that annoy the heck out of me. Namely...that godforsaken narration. That narration really, really bugs me. It gets a wee bit better near the end (and sort of works for the ending, which I really like) but really, is it necessary for this monotonous voice to tell us how much Vicky liked her meal at dinner? Or how nervous Cristina was? It's really redundant and should have been unecessary.

And on that note, some of the dialogue is pretty lame, and I really didn't like the way that Penelope Cruz's character "departed" the film...that shooting scene seemed so...incomplete!

But...overall, it's a satisfying movie. The really, really good acting and the redeeming parts of the screenplay make up for the narration which I hate to no end, and my other complaints. It's also worth seeing just for the music and scenery!


(I was originally leaning towards 6/10 but I actually enjoy this just makes me angry sometimes. Hm...perhaps a third viewing is in order.)


  1. I also have seen this movie, and I don't know what to make of it. Recently, I've LOVED everything that Woody Allen has "done". (Except for his step-daughter now turned wife.) Yes, I just went there. Anyway, I agree about Rebecca Hall. She is a standout in everything she is in. If you like her, you should watch Starter for 10. I can't comment on the dialogue, I don't really remember what went on in this film all I know is that I own it cause it was a $1 at a Blockbuster going out of business sale.....

    Gosh, I was just remembering all the great Woody films that have come out. In order of likeness: Scoop, Match Point, Melinda Melinda, and Cassandra's Dream being my least favorite.

  2. Let's all take a moment to appreciate the awesome that is Penelope Cruz. And Rebecca Hall. Everyone but Johannson, alright?

  3. I agree about the voice over.

    I feel like Woody has lot his edge over the years, like there's something missing-- like a contentment or laziness.. but these films would have been so much better thirty years ago, y'know?


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