Vicky Cristina Barcelona Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Ever get a beautifully wrapped present only to discover a mundane gift inside, or worse yet something dangerous or disgusting? Woody Allen’s film Vicky Cristina Barcelona feels a lot like that kind of let down. Staged in beautiful Spanish locations, the movie is flooded with lush backdrops, gorgeous villas and quaint streets. But once the script unfolds, it plays out like a cheeky adaptation of a cheap romance novel, complete with the ever-present narrator (Christopher Evan Welch).
Vicky (Rebecca Hall) has been invited by her distant relatives (Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn) to spend the summer with them in Spain where she can do research work for her master’s thesis. At the last minute, her pal Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) decides to tag along. Despite their friendship, the girls are about as opposite as possible when it comes to love. Steady and clear thinking, Vicky is engaged to be married at the end of the summer. Cristina, on the other hand, has just left another unsuccessful relationship and is on the prowl for a man.
Sitting in a restaurant, the two American tourists are approached by a local artist who has just experienced a violent break-up with his wife (Penelope Cruz). Exuding a kind of smarmy charm, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) invites the two girls to spend the weekend (and his bed) with him in the country’s northern city of Oviedo. While Cristina swoons at the idea of being swept away for a lusty interlude, Vicky agrees to go along only to keep her friend out of trouble. Yet, before the weekend is over, it is Vicky who has been seduced instead of Cristina.
After a torrid coupling in a city park, however, Juan immediately ignores the bride-to-be and turns his attentions to Cristina who moves into his villa for easier accessibility to the bedroom. Before long though, his suicidal ex-wife arrives in town. Worried about her mental state (and likely still in love with her), Juan allows Maria Elena (Penlope Cruz) to move back in regardless of Cristina’s feelings. Before long, the cozy twosome becomes a threesome with the two women exchanging kisses with one another as well as Juan.
Unfortunately, the characters’ behaviors, including Juan’s openly unfaithful activities, are deemed to be normal. Even more so, Juan’s womanizing appears not only natural but also needful for a man who expects his partners to accept his ways. Despite this, consequences such as pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and any guilt associated with lying and cheating are conveniently avoided. Continual scenes of drinking and alluring shots of a smoking are paired with carefully contrived sexual liaisons and passionate kissing. Sexual discussions, profanities and vulgarities also permeate the script, along with a gun-wielding, emotionally troubled woman. Meanwhile, traits like stability, commitment and hard work become negative attributes to be shunned.
The film’s most revealing line may be when Cristina questions her own level of open-mindedness about Juan’s extracurricular dalliances. Even her free-spirited personality seems to know there’s a line that begs not to be crossed. While the movie may be promoted as a romantic comedy, this steamy European summer love affair is really nothing more than two ridiculously foolish females feeding into the embrace of a slick and sleazy Don Juan of Barcelona.Starring Woody Allen, Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz, Rebecca Hall. Running time: 96 minutes. Theatrical release August 15, 2008. Updated April 17, 2009
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Rating & Content Info
Why is Vicky Cristina Barcelona rated PG-13? Vicky Cristina Barcelona is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for mature thematic material involving sexuality, and smoking.
Depictions of sexual activity are carefully shot to avoid blatant nudity. However, a picture of a naked woman on a magazine cover and partially revealed breasts are shown. Discussions of sexual activity, plural relationships and passionate male/female and female/female kissing are seen. Couples are seen engaging in sex in the bedroom and kitchen. Other implied sexual activities take place in a public park and other areas. Suicide and violent interactions between a married couple are discussed. A gun-wielding woman fires several bullets, one of which hits another character in the hand. Numerous scenes of alcohol use and cigarette smoking are portrayed. Sexual innuendo, profanities and vulgarities are used frequently in the script.
Page last updated April 17, 2009
More parents' guide for Vicky Cristina Barcelona after the break...
Vicky Cristina Barcelona Parents' Guide
This production seems to promote the idea than an outside affair will improve sex in a committed relationship. What implications of unfaithfulness does the film fail to address? What impact might breached trust have on the emotional well being of a couple?
How do these characters define romantic love? Why are recreational encounters seen as being more appealing than long-term relationships? What positive aspects of marriage (or committed pairs) are overlooked in this script?
Can knowing what you don’t want in life help a person find what they do want?
One character in this film refers to multiple partners as a Mormon practice. Polygamy, known as the marriage of more than one woman to the same man, was practiced in the early history of the Mormon faith (officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) but was banned nearly 120 years ago.
The most recent home video release of Vicky Cristina Barcelona movie is January 27, 2009. Here are some details…
Vicky Cristina Barcelona travels onto DVD and Blu-ray Disc with audio tracks in Dolby Digital (English and Spanish), and subtitles in English and Spanish.
Related home video titles:
Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall also share the screen in The Prestige, a story about two men battling for eminence as magicians in the 1800s. Patricia Clarkson, who plays Vicky’s aunt, stars as a doctor committed to helping a young man learn to deal with reality in Lars and the Real Girl.