To Rome with Love

July 8, 2012 No Comments

“Don’t psychoanalyze me.  Many have tried.  All have failed.”  Vintage Woody Allen in Rome is the heart of his new film “To Rome with Love.”   Sprung from his New York base, Allen has set his sights on London (Match Point, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger), Spain (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Paris (in the magical Midnight in Paris) and now Rome with his newest romp, a clever, well cast trip to one of the world’s most beautiful cities.  His eye for color, his ability to bookend a film and his wonderful use of music create a world in film that invites us to join him in a city filled with magic.   Allen has eliminated the “stand in”  of  his recent films and once again casts himself as himself, a quirky, neurotic, intellectual (and now recently retired) opera manager vacationing in Rome with his wife (the very cool Judy Davis, a shrink) and scheduled to meet his daughter (Allison Pill) and her recently engaged leftist Italian fiance.  There are four stories that weave their way through the film, endorsing, but not necessarily answering each other.  (Some have criticized Allen for not “connecting” the stories, but I fear they fail to feel the themes that this so seasoned director relies upon to generate his stories:  what is the nature of love?  what is fame?  what is the price of fame?  what can the past tell us about how to live in the present?  when is infidelity destructive and when is it a helpful “nudge”?  How does anxiety fuel genius?   Alex Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Jessie Eisenberg, Ellen Page and a host of Italian stars (including Roberto Benigni) contribute their passion and assist Allen in the creation of a work that sometimes seems too “easy.”

Woody Allen makes filmmaking seem, at times, too easy.  His musical sense, intellectual knowledge, psychological intuition/experience (even if begrudging at times) and visual expertise create cinematic experiences that are a wonder to observe, but sometimes underestimated because of the seeming lack of effort required.  Perhaps Woody Allen is the Roger Federer of filmmaking……..winning the majors, but just making it appear so effortless that we fail to appreciate the gift.  Go Woody….Go Fed……Jolyn Wagner

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