Vicky Cristina Barcelona

August 15th, 2008


Vicky Cristina Barcelona

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Still of Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina BarcelonaStill of Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson in Vicky Cristina BarcelonaJavier Bardem at event of Vicky Cristina BarcelonaStill of Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall in Vicky Cristina BarcelonaStill of Woody Allen, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson in Vicky Cristina BarcelonaStill of Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson in Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.

Release Year: 2008

Rating: 7.2/10 (84,748 voted)

Critic's Score: 70/100

Director: Woody Allen

Stars: Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem

Sexually adventurous Cristina and her friend Vicky, who is bright but cautious, holiday in Barcelona where they meet the celebrated and wholly seductive painter, Juan Antonio. Vicky is not about to dive into a sexual adventure being committed to her forthcoming marriage. But Cristina is immediately captivated by Juan Antonio's free spirit and his romantic allure is enhanced when she hears the delicious details of his divorce from fellow artist, the tempestuous Maria Elena.

Rebecca Hall - Vicky
Scarlett Johansson - Cristina
Christopher Evan Welch - Narrator (voice)
Chris Messina - Doug
Patricia Clarkson - Judy
Kevin Dunn - Mark
Julio Perillán - Charles
Juan Quesada - Guitarist in Barcelona
Ricard Salom - Art Gallery Guest
Maurice Sonnenberg - Art Gallery Guest
Javier Bardem - Juan Antonio
Manel Barceló - Doctor
Josep Maria Domènech - Julio
Emilio de Benito - Guitarist in Asturias
Jaume Montané - Juan Antonio's Friend

Taglines: Life is the ultimate work of art


Official Website: Official site [Japan] | Official site [United States] |

Release Date: 15 August 2008

Filming Locations: Avilés, Asturias, Spain

Box Office Details

Budget: $15,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $3,755,575 (USA) (17 August 2008) (692 Screens)

Gross: $23,213,577 (USA) (15 February 2009)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

For his brief driving scene in this movie, Javier Bardem underwent hours of driving instruction and still didn't have a driver's license to show for his efforts when the movie wrapped.

Continuity: Speaking about Cristina's photography the narrator says that Maria convinces her to use an older camera and she would set up a darkroom for her, etc. implying it would be a film camera. It's clear she continues to use a digital camera and she does not look through the viewfinder but the LCD screen of a digital camera and the photo she just took is on the screen.

[first lines]
Narrator: Vicky and Cristina decided to spend the summer in Barcelona. Vicky was completing her master's in Catalan Identity, which she had become interested in through her great affection for the architecture of Gaudí. Cristina, who spent the last six months writing...

User Review

A triumphant effort from Woody Allen


Although this film has bizarrely been described as breezy summer entertainment by some top critics (which leads me to wonder if they saw the same movie I did, or just the first half hour), "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is the closest thing to the sort of examination of relationships that Allen became famous for in quite some time ("Anything Else" counts, I suppose, but lacks the sharpness this film has), and although it is far from as weighty as some of his dramas or even some of his comedies, this is his first really inspired script in a while, featuring a cast of detailed, well-developed characters, some razor-sharp observations on relationships, and a wicked sense of humor.

Although I never thought Woody's work this decade was particularly poor (other than "Cassandra's Dream" and although I'm in a minority "Match Point"), it has mostly been completely inconsequential and almost entirely dependent on broad characterizations and heavy plotting rather than real people and awkwardly comic situations (which has always been Allen's strong suit). A career-best performance from Scarlett Johansson, a wickedly entertaining turn from Penelope Cruz, and the absolute revelation that is Rebecca Hall form a great cast along with Javier Bardem in a role that may surprise the majority of the American public (well, for most of the movie, anyway). You can feel Allen's mark on their mannerisms, but they all seem to disappear into these characters, that's how good they are.

I'm keeping this as spoiler-free as possible, because it's really worth going into the theater not expecting anything in particular and savoring the film's often unexpected but never contrived plot twists and turns. All you should know is that Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) go to Barcelona for the summer and things get complicated when they meet a charming, mysterious, and rich painter (Javier Bardem) and he makes a rather upfront proposition to both of them. It's best if you know nothing of how Cruz' character impacts the film prior to watching it.

In relation to Allen's other work I thought it was interesting that he never attempted to analyze sex. The whole movie is in many ways about sex, and there is a lot of the expected philosophical and psychological examination of the relationships between the characters in the film, but sex itself is never analyzed as it is in much of Allen's work, and is instead treated as the impenetrable mystery it is. That said, Allen's script is extraordinarily nuanced, something that I haven't expected from his writing in a while. Sure, the characters still represent opposing romantic philosophies, but there's a spark in the writing that makes these feel like real people as opposed to mere characters. That spark, that chemistry is there throughout "Vicky Cristina Barcelona", it's there in the vibrant cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe, it's there in the performances, it's there in the shot composition, and it's there in the editing, and in pretty much anything else I haven't mentioned yet.

The first forty minutes or so of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" may be the sort of romantic comedy (very good romantic comedy, at that) that the advertising campaign seems to suggest it is, but for the rest of the film there's the sort of pessimistic optimism that colors much of Allen's work (if that makes sense, pretend you didn't read it if it didn't), and let's just say it doesn't end well for these characters. There's real complexity and intensity in this film, and all I have to say is this: Woody Allen is back, the perceptive, intelligent examiner of the human heart, that is, not what we've had for the past while. To say this is one of his best films would be ignoring the fact that through the 70's and 80's he pretty much made nothing but great films, but I can at least say that this is on par with some of his better work.



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