Long after most of Woody Allen's fans had shunned him for not always making movies on the level of Crimes and Misdemeanors (just in sheer numbers, fuckers, this man has made more masterpieces than anybody—this is not an exaggeration; remember Love and Death, Annie Hall, Broadway Danny Rose, Hannah and Her Sisters, Husbands and Wives?!; what about Manhattan, The Purple Rose of Cairo, September, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Bullets Over Broadway, Match Point?!; name one filmmaker who has even come close to making that many great movies!), I still go see Woody Allen movies on opening day. But his new one, Vicky Christina Barcelona, also features Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz performing a lesbo kiss, which as a byproduct conveniently continues my education in the mind of the straight male. (After the movie, Robert said that for the lesbo kiss alone, Woody Allen should be hailed a national treasure.) The lesbo kiss is kind of a spoiler because it's supposed to be a surprise late in the film, but that's all anyone is talking about on the Internet and it's right there in the trailer.
The girl at the box office asked me, "What's this movie about?," when I went to buy tickets.
I said, "It's the new Woody Allen," a statement that was met with a heart-crushing blank stare. I then exclaimed, "It's about beautiful people in Spain!"
"That sounds great!" she declared.
I walked away thinking, "Sometimes I hate America."
To my surprise, the theater was pretty full, the audience was unusually raucous, and they clapped at the end. I felt like I had entered an alternate reality. This doesn't happen at Woody Allen movies!
The film is good (not quite Match Point good); Penelope Cruz is hysterically fierce (I didn't know!); everybody else is uniformly terrific and real; and, despite its good spirits, Vicky Christina Barcelona is somewhat of a tragedy, a sad meditation on the complexities (and impossibilities?) of romantic love.
I think the following trailer gives way too much away, so avoid it if you don't want to be spoiled any more than you already have. But I just noticed I didn't describe the plot, and I'm too lazy to go back. So I'll let these moving pictures do it for me: