As much of a pretty postcard 'To Rome With Love' is, some parts of Woody Allen's film did feel all Greek and Latin to us. Read on to find out why...
What's it about?
The film tells four stories of tourists and residents in Rome. The first is of Jerry (Woody Allen) and Phyllis (Judy Davis), an elderly couple who fly down to the city after their daughter Hayley (Allison Pill) gets engaged to an Italian she meets while on holiday in Rome. Jerry is a retired opera director and finds that his daughter's fiance's father has a voice that sounds like honey on toast and is desperate to revive his career by launching his new find.
The second follows the adventures of Milly and Antonio, a couple who are in Rome for their honeymoon. The two get separated on their first day in the city and have chance encounters with a number of interesting characters, including a prostitute called Anna (Penelope Cruz) and movie star, Luca Salta (Antonio Albanese).
Elsewhere, American architect John (Alec Baldwin) meets Jack (Jesse Eisenberg), who lives in Paris with his girlfriend, Sally (Greta Gerwig). Sally's friend Monica (Ellen Page) comes to stay with the couple for a while following a break up, and Jack falls for her while John flits in and out, offering Jack relationship advice and insight.
The final story is that of Leopoldo (Robert Benigni) who leads an ordinary existence as an office clerk, but all that changes when he becomes a celebrity overnight for no apparent reason.
The director's written cinematic love letters to other cities in the past, but while in those (like in 'Midnight in Paris') the places starred in supporting roles, it almost feels like Rome is Allen's leading lady here. The city looks fantastic with its piazzas, cobblestone bylanes and ruins captured beautifully. Of the cast, Davis (who has some of the best lines) and Allen are charming, as is Penelope Cruz with her lovable hooker act. It also feels strange to see Baldwin play someone's conscience at first, but he grows on you. On the downside, Benigni's story sticks out like a sore thumb, despite a good performance by the actor. The track almost felt like it was thrown in to provide a moral to the story.
What to do?
This film's more about Rome than love, so only watch it if you can't quite make up your mind about where to spend your next holiday. You're more likely to exit the theatre with plans to visit Italy than gushing about the film.
in.com rating: 3/5
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