I'll start with the fact that I don't really enjoy Woody Allen films. There are often good scenes, usually great acting, but rarely a story worth remembering. I found this to be true again with Vicky Christina Barcelona, for which Penelope Cruz is nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Quick plot summary: Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Christina (Scarlett Johansson) go to Barcelona for the summer. They are picked up one night by Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), a Spanish painter and taken away for the weekend. Vicky is engaged to be married and more straight-laced than Christina who seeks adventure and true love, but they still decide to go away with him. Christina puts the moves on him, but ultimately gets sick and Vicky sleeps with him. They get back to Barcelona and Juan Antonio and Christina move in together and Vicky gets married, but can't forget her romantic night with a stranger. Then returns Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) Juan Antonio's crazy ex-wife. She moves in with the couple and the tragic, sprited, love affair she and Juan Antonio always had (she once stabbed him out of love) is tempered into nomalcy by Christina's presence. Ultimately, Christina realizes she's a little more normal than she thought and Vicky realizes she wants no part of the crazy, courageous life of Juan Antonio after all.
While Penelope Cruz is good, I don't think it deserved a nomination, let alone an award. Javier Bardem was very good at the carefree artist, without being a careless jackass. He seemed humbled by his failed marriage, but whimsical enough to have fun with two American tourists. The scenery and musical score are terrific, but don't really connect with the story very well. Overall 3 LAMBS/stars
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