Saturday, January 19, 2013

Woody Allen's "To Rome with Love" Review

We're big Woody Allen fans - I love "Sleeper" and "Annie Hall", as my top favorites. Though "Midnight in Paris" is absolute perfection. There's not one flaw in it from cinematography, acting, storyline and concept.

So, we were eager  to see how "To Rome with Love" played out. The visuals of Rome are stunning. The monuments, ruins, the architecture are displayed in sharp colors. It actually looks a lot cleaner and less crowded than we remember it. However, cinema tends to do that. Bollywood movies take place in Mumbai, and when you go to Nariman Point, you're overwhelmed by the crowds. I can't take a picture of the scene, let alone film a song there without fifty people in it.

As for "To Rome", there were few main storylines that split out but don't connect. Maybe I should do a Visio flowchart on this?

- Hayley and Roman (2)
        - Hayley's parents come (Woody Allen and ..woot..woot.. Judy Davis)
               - Hayley's parents meet Roman's family (+2)    

- The Italian newlyweds who go in different directions
        - Bride's adventures (+few)
        - Groom's adventures (+ Penelope Cruz)

- Average Italian family man entanglement with fame

- Two young Americans in Rome
         - Friend and Alec Baldwin come visit (+2)

- Throw in some misplace Romans as muses

So there - I've laid out the stories and they don't intertwine or anything. We tried to figure out any kind of theme underneath it -- You think you desire something, but when you get it you don't want it? You're happy with status quo? There's no place like home, Toto?

There's also Woody Allen's babbling neurotic dialogue. Every very movie has "the Woody Allen" character and Jesse Eisenberg got awarded that, complete with the hunched shoulders while walking.
If you like the usual white Windsor font on black background, amusing music and delightful scenes of Rome and delicious Roman people, it's enjoyable. 


Jenny Bhatt said...

Hey, Ashini. Since you said you like comments to help you keep writing, I thought I'd oblige. :)

So, I also thought that the underlying theme was - reaching for the new and different but not quite able to deal with it, so reverting back to the old and familiar. All the stories - funeral parlor guy turned opera singer, average office worker turned celebrity, newly-married couple with extra-marital flings, student with girlfriend's friend - all seemed to follow this trend.

For me, I think the movie did not rank as high as other Woody Allens is that I might have lost a lot in translation. He had so much Italian dialogue without subtitles in this movie. I wonder what the Italians made of it since they probably understood more of it.

We've been doing some old classic Paul Newman movies lately - Nobody's Fool and Sometimes a Great Notion recently. Very different director from Woody Allen. But, unique in his own way. Subtle, understated but well-crafted details that speak volumes without the characters having to say or do the obvious. Really, Newman had a sensibility as a director that is hard to find even these days.

Ashini said...

Thanks for your comments, Jenny. Interesting about the translation of the Italian. We had rented the DVD and put on closed captioning - we do this for the English mostly. So, we had everything with subtitles.
It's a nice movie - enjoyable to watch, but nothing so great that you want to keep seeing.
I haven't seen Paul Newman movies in ages! What a great idea.
I just finished "Furious Love" about Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton. So my head is in that era.