Crazy little thing called love

Let’s get this out of the way first: most casual moviegoers have heard of this film for the lip-locking of stars Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson. Yet while they do share some slightly-sultry moments, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is much more than their interaction.

The film is an interesting look into the love life of multiple people. How they view love, how they deal with situations, and how they are affected by each others actions. It does nothing more than prove that love is an intricate subject that is nearly indefinable – and it does so in a comedic, romantic and meaningful way.

As the narrator says, best friends Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Johansson) fly to Barcelona to spend their summer months in a beautiful environment. They are incredibly similar until it comes to love. Vicky is straight-laced, somewhat uptight and sure of what she wants, which would be a marriage to archetypal nice-guy Doug. Cristina is a much more relaxed, somewhat carefree, and very liberal about love.

In a chance encounter, they meet Juan Antonio, played incredibly charismatically by Javier Bardem. He bluntly asks the women to join them for a weekend of site seeing and love making. Reluctantly, Vicky is dragged along by an intrigued Cristina. The weekend proves to be trying for Vicky, and relationships are formed and twisted, even more so when Juan Antonio’s ex-wife Maria Elena (Cruz) enters the picture.

Despite the movie being a great experience, there are two slightly disappointing elements to it. The first is that Johansson’s solid performance will be talked about more than Cruz’s more dominate and powerful performance. Her emotion and fiery attitude is wonderful to see.

The second disappointment is the overshadowing of Rebecca Hall. She does an incredible job of playing two types of characters: the aforementioned uptight type and the emotionally crushed and confused type. It is a shame she isn’t used even more than she is throughout the film.

However, that isn’t to say Johansson doesn’t do a fine job. She does. Throughout the course of the whole film, the looks in her face that Woody Allen’s camera catches are marvelous – and beautiful, of course. Perhaps working with Allen brings out the best in her.

As for the way love is portrayed throughout the film, it is clear that the very best type of love is the romantic sort. Bardem and Johansson’s characters are the biggest proponents of this ideal, as seen clearly through their actions and dialogue. It’s all sort of a contradiction when everything comes together, but it’s a good one that will leave you feeling for the characters – despite what some do to one another.

So if you’re in the mood for a solid film that puts together comedy and romance in a perfect blend, take the time to see Vicky Cristina Barcelona.