Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Produced and distributed by The Weinstein Company
Written and directed by Woody Allen
Warning: In the review that follows, I have given away any number of plot points of the film.
In Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen has traveled farther from his beloved Manhattan than ever before but not an inch from his perennial obsession: the ordeal of passion in a world of regimented emotions.
Allen has made great comedies out of the fooleries that befall passion’s victims, but here he’s turned serious and seems to have lost his focus.
His narrative concerns two young women summering in Barcelona: Vicky, a student of Catalonia, and Cristina, a student of, well, herself. When Vicky was 14, she fell in love with the city’s architecture by the Catholic visionary Antoni Gaudi, especially his still unfinished church, El Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (The Church of the Holy Family) begun in 1883 and scheduled to be completed in 2026. The structure is to play its part in Vicky’s master’s thesis on “the Catalan identity.” This sounds impressive until we learn she speaks neither Catalan nor Spanish. Cristina, who is not as ambitiously intellectual as Vicky, is easily her friend’s equal when it comes to wholly unearned self-importance. After...