Director-actor Woody Allen is a genius to many but a decadent to the moral brigade. He lives an open life of a polygamous man and has faced charges of child abuse, unproven in court of law and denied by him. When he makes a movie on complex human relationships, his own experience is certain to reflect in the films he directs.
"Vicky Christina Barcelona" is such a movie which required an experienced director to bring to surface the hidden complex world of human sexuality. It is said that Woody did nothing as far as directing the actors is concerned in this movie. He let all of them free to perform to their ability and just directed the shooting of the film, not performances. And this has paid him rich dividends with all of them performing with ebullience.
Despite the loud noises of morality by monogamists, a majority of twosome marriages ultimately become a boring routine with cold, mechanical and formal interactions. Many of them stay in status quo because of social, economic, legal and cultural reasons with their love lost long ago.
Vicky represents monogamists and one who wants to settle in a typical family life while Christina is adventurous and unorthodox but the two are closest friends who hide nothing from each other. But Vicky falls first to a Spanish Casanova, despite being in engagement with her would be husband but then retracts back to her normal life, still carrying the flame within her.
Christina represents a missing link in a disastrous and violent marriage of two genius artists. They never feel fulfilled in their emotional relationship and always feel a huge vacuum. They always fight and become violent. But once Christina comes in their lives their creativity blossoms, there is no violence but love and compassion all over.
But once Christina decides to break this love of threesome, everything turns back to what it was in the past - the fights, noise, violence and destruction. Rebecca Hall plays as Vicky, her first Hollywood movie. She has performed brilliantly. Her dialogue delivery and facial expressions are a delight to watch. Sensuous Scarlett Johansson plays as Christina, a girl with no inhibitions, eager to experiment, easy going, forgiving and logically thinking.
Penelope Cruz as Maria Elena gives her best Hollywood performance. Her depiction of an aggressive, violent and quarrelsome wife and creative artist is a treat to watch. The way she feels happy and creative once she finds herself in a triangle of love and passion with her ex-husband and his new girlfriend Christina, Maria Elena goes ecstatic and Penelope Cruz brings out this all with a natural flair. Her performance is the pillar of this film. As an artist and persuasive Casanova Juan Antonio, Javier Bardem looks manly and attractive.
Even though her role is a minor side role, of a bored mid-age, upper class housewife, Patricia Clarkson as Judy leaves her stamp of brilliance. She looks perfect and real. The movie's runtime is 96 minutes and it is produced by Weinstein Company; The Mediapro and Gravier Productions. It was released during August 2008.