Europe is diverse and rich. The population density is high, the traditions and customs numerous. So, you have to experience it region by region, bit by bit. Prolific filmmaker Woody Allen dedicated several movies to the charm of European life. These movies blend (quite nicely, in my opinion) Allen’s romanticized perspective with his usual wit and humorousness.
The best months to travel throughout Europe are September, May and June. The reasons are numerous, ranging from pleasant weather to normal/reasonable prices. I know summer is considered the time for vacations and the topic of this post might have been more appropriate for a month or two ago, but wouldn’t you want to stretch summer a bit into September and travel in your armchair with the help of some light and smart movies?
Not all these movies have good reviews, and I think it’s funny, because each delivers on its promise, and they are all typical Woody Allen movies – which shouldn’t be surprising to anyone 🙂
Read on about:
- To Rome with Love
- Midnight in Paris
- You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
- Vicky Cristina Barcelona
To Rome with Love
To me, this movie was hilarious. It made points and sense. It was a bit loose, felt at times incomplete yet crowded, but I really liked it, and it was definitely made by someone just like Allen’s character, someone “ahead of his time”… not in the literal sense. There’s also Roberto Benigni in the cast, another artist I love and consider extremely funny. His role and story in the movie are revealing to the question of fame, and you get to see him in his underwear – don’t let that distract you from the circumstances and what he’s saying. On the other hand, Ellen Page as a seductress was not exactly credible, although she is pretty. Music, crostini, sightseeing, that lazy golden light, the simple pleasures of life… Enjoyable 🙂
Midnight in Paris
I wrote about “Midnight in Paris” before. Woody Allen’s Paris is nostalgic and magical. The essence of the city is buried in the past, and it reveals itself when you wish to connect to those times. I love how the characters experience the city differently, and how, in a way, the idea of this movie is that in our travels we go out looking for what we want to find, that our outer reality is the reflection of what we hold inside. It’s a charming, light, relaxing movie.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
London-based, and not about traveling/travelers, this is another Woody Allen movie that seems a bit crammed with several interweaving stories. It is a lot about expectations, illusions, lies we tell ourselves and actually experience. If you like rigorously structured movies, with plenty of room to unfold, clear direction and ending, you won’t enjoy this one. The element of diversity is present in this movie also – all sorts of characters, occupations, takes on life. And there’s also a common theme of dissatisfaction. The acting is good, the wit and humor are in the mix, and everything takes place in beautiful settings 🙂
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
I remember I wrote a (very) short review for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” some time ago, and I was surprised by my annoying feeling of not having much to say about it. It is a good movie, sunny, enjoyable, it’s about self-restraint, following your impulses and feelings, art, mad passion… really mad :D. It presents Barcelona/Spain as a hot (literally and figuratively) place where people live their passions to the fullest, in spite of the unpleasant issues in life which are only mentioned, not actually seen. Penélope Cruz steals the show the moment she appears, even if she has to scream a few times for this. I’m joking, but she really does some yelling in the movie. Ultimately, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” would have been much duller without Maria Elena, the character played by Cruz. Vicky and Cristina aside, the movie can work some Barcelona magic on you.
To wrap this up, I would like to recommend you another Woody Allen movie with the action set in London: Match Point. Excellent 🙂