Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Directed by Woody Allen
Two girlfriends spend a summer in Barcelona.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona is the first Woody Allen film with “serious body heat,” said Stephen Holden in The New York Times. The writer-director’s past films have always been about male lust, but that “desire is usually camouflaged by layers of shyness and nervous banter.” His latest film, about two American women who spend a summer in Barcelona, has a “racing erotic pulse.” Vicky (Rebecca Hall) is straight-laced and poised to marry a dull finance guy. Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) is a passionate and free spirit. They both get involved in a love triangle with a hunky Spanish artist (Javier Bardem), and soon with his spitfire of an ex-wife (Penélope Cruz). The 73-year-old Allen finds the “perfect tone” for this coming-of-age story, said David Edelstein in New York. That tone is “objective, with a hint of affectionate sympathy” for these young women. Allen’s dialogue is “both crisp and ambivalent,” said David Denby in The New Yorker. Each of his actors has a “first-class temperament,” and they all work together to give the film “a natural, flowing vitality.”