Sunday, July 22, 2012

To Rome with Love

Today I saw To Rome with Love, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Alec Baldwin.

This film was just what I needed. Woody Allen directs and stars in this delightful dance around Rome. Using his signature themes of adultery and infatuation, he shows us four stories of life and love—all entertaining and pleasant to follow.

First, there's Jack (Eisenberg), an aspiring American architect living in Rome with his girlfriend, getting to know an architectural legend, John (Baldwin) whom he met on the street. John comes for coffee and then materializes magically (hilariously) for days thereafter to offer advice. Monica (Ellen Page) is the seductress that John is advising Jack against.

Leopoldo (Roberto Benigni) is an everyday business man until he wakes up famous for no reason. The paparazzi hound him, he enjoys the pleasures of popularity and exhibits behavior associated with those who gain fame too fast.

Antonio (Alessandro Tiberian) and Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi) are newlyweds who have come to the city to introduce Milly to Antonio's family. She feels frumpy and sets out to find a beauty salon and gets lost. By days' end, both sides of this happy couple will be sexually tempted by strangers.

Hillary (Allison Pill) falls in love and becomes engaged to Michaelangelo (Flavio Parenti) and wants her parents Jerry (Woody Allen) and Phyllis (Judy Davis) to meet him. When they arrive in Rome, they learn of Michaelangelo's father who is an undertaker with a gift for song. Jerry, a former music man, wants to jump start his career, but needs to come up with a creative way for him to overcome stage fright.

Each story is told with heart and humor, and every path leads to at least one character to root for. This film isn't a masterpiece like Match Point or Midnight in Paris, but it is very satisfying. I only wish Woody would continue this trend of basing his films in European cities.

I can only imagine what he'd do with Dublin.


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