Yesterday I was dragged to the movies by a few friends of mine to see Woody Allen's new film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I was certainly hesitant, I'm not the biggest Woody Allen fan. But this film completely flipped me.
The film takes place in Barcelona, where two American friends are staying. Vicky (Rebecca Hall) is finishing up her schooling, while Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) is looking for purpose and adventure. In Spain they meet a sleepy-eyed and charming Spaniard Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), who gets them both tangled into a romantic relation along with his fiery ex-wife (Penelope Cruz). The entire film is dryly narrated by an anonymous voice, creating the illusion of logic and sense in the complex world Allen creates.
The film stands as a survey of love, and the chaos and inexplicability that stems from and within it. Allen masterfully has crafted each character, and the characters of Vicky and Cristina balance each other in their friendship beautifully. But the two that really stand out are the Spaniards, played by Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. I wouldn't be at all surprise if you see that two names mentioned come February next year, especially Cruz. I think many people overlook Penelope Cruz as a pretty face and don't see her extreme talent as an actress. Although after you see this film you will be utterly convinced, watching her shift seamlessly from passion and danger, English and Spanish, beauty and hysteria. In fact I'd be very disappointed and shocked if she wasn't at LEAST nominated for best supporting actress.
This film stands out to me as one of the bigger sleepers of the year, so I highly recommend checking out this film before it disappears from the screens. You can thank me later.