Vicky and Cristina visit Barcelona for the summer, staying with Vicky's distant relative. Vicky is practical and traditional in her approach to love and commitment and is engaged to the reliable but unromantic Doug. Cristina on the other hand is a nonconformist, spontaneous but unsure of what she wants from life or love.
Both meet Juan Antonio. Cristina is impressed with him but Vicky resents him. During a trip together in Oviedo, Cristina falls ill. Vicky and Juan are forced together. Vicky succumbs to Juan's charm and they make love. Vicky feeling guilty did not tell Cristina what happened. Both girls grew apart with Vicky pursuing her studies and Cristina, photography.
Cristina and Juan become closer and move in together. One day, Juan brings his ex-wife Maria Elena back home to stay. Though initially Maria Elena distrusts Cristina, she soon develops a fondness for her and her photography.
Cristina realises that the two ex-spouses still love each other. Maria believes that her relationship with Juan is unstable because of a 'missing link'. The 'missing link' turns out to be Cristina. The three of them thus start an unusual relationship.
Soon Cristina becomes restless and decides to leave Juan and Maria. Meanwhile, Vicky is not satisfied with her marriage to Doug and is still attached to Juan. Will Cristina find what she's been looking for and will Vicky have the courage to pursue true love?
Initially this review was going to start by mentioning Penelope Cruz won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The review was also going to mention something about Javier Bardem was also a recent Oscar winner for his role in “No Country for Old Men” and this is Woody Allen’s fourth film in a row to be filmed in the Europe. But while viewing this Vicky Cristina Barcelona, there are so much more interesting issues that the movie brought up that those statements mentioned above seems so trivial and unnecessary to be included in the review.
First of all, Javier Barden’s portrayal of Juan Antonio sets the definition of a lady killer. His mannerism, spontaneity and confidence demonstrated here are good learning tools for those who are interested in what qualities that an irresistible man should have and exhibit. His spontaneous manner of engaging the ladies with unexpected events was subtly contrasted with Vicky’s reliable but “boring” fiancé, Doug who had their life planned out. In short, Vicky Cristina Barcelona had effectively created an alluring man that it’s easy to understand why all the women in this movie are so attracted to him.
Before you start wondering aloud, isn’t this movie about the ladies? With a solid presentation of the prince charming, this movie could move on to the main issues and that’s depicting the two ladies, Vicky and Cristina’s different viewpoints of their ideal partner and love.
Vicky represents the type of ladies that play it safe with their preference in men and knows what she wants / expect in a relationship. Her preference would probably be some guys with financial stability and prospect but none of those unexpected emotional upheavals woes that most ladies could relate to. Cristina on the other hand, belongs to the group that’s hasn’t pegged down exactly what she wants in love and is continuously looking for the one that would end her search of the ideal partner (the more adventurous type).
This movie then deftly puts all three characters together and set up situations on how Juan would seemly effortlessly charms Vicky and Cristina. Each pairing (Juan with Vicky and Juan with Cristina) would subsequently opens their own cans of worms and set events going. Vicky started to doubt her choice and perspective on love. Cristina on the other hand had to fight off the intrusion of Juan’s ex wife Maria Elena initially and consequently discover a rather unconventional way of loving someone.
Eventually, this movie ties all the affairs up in a delightful manner that seemly changed nothing while leaving a memorable mark in these two ladies’ lives (maybe one far less so than the other). It’s a poetic representation on unconventional love that anyone who is interested in love (either the conventional or unconventional types) should watch and perhaps learn a thing or thing from this movie.
Last but not least, it’s been reported that Woody Allen had initially scripted San Francisco as the setting of this film but it was changed to Barcelona as the City of Barcelona offered to cover the production costs. With such external input, one would expect jarring product placement (in this case, the scenery of Barcelona) to be squeezed into the movie but that’s not the case with Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Director Woody Allen managed to find that delicate balance between showing the beauty of the Barcelona sights and the story telling, resulting in a charming piece of work that makes one eager to visit those sights and none of the product placement intrusiveness aftertaste. Highly Recommended.
Code 3 DVD contains no bonus features.
The beauty of Barcelona and the actresses are well presented in this Dvd’s video presentation. As a dialogue filled movie, this DVD did well enough to covey those witty flirty conversation across.
Review by Richard Lim Jr