nicole rademacher

Monday, September 1, 2008

A movie review

Goodness, I just didn't know what to do with this critique. I looked and looked online for a real review of Vicky Cristina Barcelona - and I just couldn't find one. Why do I seem to be the only one who thinks this movie is just, well, contrived, trite, and predictable ???

Firstly, we have the main character, Vicky, who is getting her Master's in Catalan Identity, but doesn't speak Catalan - or even Spanish? Next, there is Javier Bardem playing the 'Latin Lover' who is, of course, an artist. His character is from Asturias, but Vicky calls him a 'Catalan painter' and he doesn't correct her !! (GASP) Why didn't Penelope or Javier bother to tell Woody Allen about the complexity of Catalan Identity and Spanish Identity and all of the intricacies and bloodshed that has gone on for centuries and continues today amongst all of the autonomous regions of Spain. Granted, in recent years (in light of the bombings in Madrid) ETA has been more 'meaningful' (if I can use that word to talk about bombings) in their attacks, and the Catalans are more diplomatic about how they are searching for their independence. But no matter how you spin it, we as Americans are unaware of the influence that these events and feelings have on their Identity as a countries and as many nations. And the blatant disregard for this just encourages our ignorance as a country!

Ha! That's what it is - we as Americans. So, did Woody Allen do it deliberately or is he oblivious to it as well ? Could Javier and Penelope not be bothered to explain some basic issues with the script? Let's not put all the blame on the actors. There were a lot of other Spaniards involved in the making of this movie. Were their eyes blinded by euro signs that would be coming in at the box office?

Generally Americans are ignorant to the complexities of ethnicities and nations within an entire country. Much of this is because this is pretty much nonexistent for us. Unless we can experience it first hand when we are abroad, we probably are completely unaware of these happenings. The complexities of ethnicity that exist in America are not particular to a region. Racism exists in a myriad of ways across several races in every part of the country. And the idea of many nations in one? Hmmm, that is really difficult for us to comprehend. Perhaps fifty years or a hundred ago it would have been easier, but now that families move across the country (sometimes a few times in a lifetime), many people don't feel a patriotism for their region. We are taught about how to manifest our patriotic nature for our country, the United States of America. It is difficult (at least for me it is) to comprehend that the culture in New England could be so profoundly different that they would want to be their own nation within the US, much less their own country. The issue of language is something else that is completely foreign. Even though we have no official language, most people speak English as their first language with Spanish in a not too distant second. Behind English and Spanish I bet we could find Mandarin, Polish, French, Portuguese, Arabic... And none of these seem to be particular to a region albeit you will find more Spanish speakers in Miami and L.A. than in Kansas City and Fargo, but you will still find many Spanish speakers farther north in Chicago, Denver, and New York.

Back to the topic at hand: the film. Penelope plays the same predictable character that you expect to see her in in American films: beautiful and irrational. Scarlett is cast as the beautiful, idealistic, and wide-eyed American. I already discussed Javier's character, but I do not think that his character is specific to him as much as it is specific to the 'Latin Lover' character. Javier is hot in the film world right now, so he was cast.

The plot was pretty simple: Affluent American tourists go to Spain for a two month holiday. They meet a hot famous painter who seduces them. One of the Americans is engaged and therefore has a moral dilemma. The erratic ex-wife of the Spaniard shows up (because she attempted to kill herself * as a side note, I would like to express my disdain at this time for the type-casting of the artists: erratic, indulgent, impulsive ...). Eventually the erratic ex-wife, the idealistic American, and the painter all end up in bed together. Until the idealistic and impulsive (artist) American decides that that is not what she wants. Basically the story is over after that. They tie up some loose ends, but everyone goes back to their lives before any of this ever happened.

I wish I would have waited to download a bootlegged copy from the internet. I would have saved nine dollars, gas, and the time it takes to drive to the one theater in Charlotte that was actually playing the new Woody Allen movie.

Is this really what even the 'artsy' films are coming to? I am thoroughly disappointed and (perhaps) hopelessly looking for good - no decent - film.


Anonymous said...

You ask: "Why do I seem to be the only one who thinks this movie is just, well, contrived, trite, and predictable ???"

The answer is, of course, very, very obvious. Let's debuted at Cannes to rave reviews, it opened in the US to rave reviews, it's doing brilliantly at the box office and has fantastic word of mouth.

Hmmm...why are you the odd one out?

nic said...

I know about all the reviews and word of mouth. That is why I went to see it. 'Why am I the odd one out?' That is why I wrote the post.