Woody Allen has spent the past few years exploring the great cities of Europe: London, Barcelona, Paris and now Rome. Each film functions as a visual love letter to the city it takes place in. It is intriguing to see these cultural centres reflected through Woody’s eyes.
Of all the cities in Europe, Rome would have to be my favourite. So much so, it is where I got married. Actually the wife and I eloped there. We flew to Italy, rented an apartment in the maze-like streets of Trastevere and got hitched. It was amazing, our wedding photos were in front of the Trevi Fountain and the Four Rivers Fountain in Piazza Novona . The day after our wedding, we were in the Sistine Chapel craning our necks towards the ceiling. Rome is simply magnificent; the history, the art and the food are all unbelievable. Now, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression that you can go straight from the airport to the chapel. The place that gave us indoor plumbing is also the home of bureaucratic red tape. If this kind of wedding adventure appeals to you, then a few months of getting the right paperwork in order is required. All in all I highly recommend the experience.
To Rome with Love is comprised of four separate stories that all take place in the sun bleached streets of the eternal city. The stories involve themes of fame, love and infidelity, a lot of infidelity. The impressive cast includes Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg and Roberto Benigni. The film also sees Woody Allen’s return to acting. Nobody plays Woody Allen like Woody Allen and it is his story I ultimately liked the best.
Woody had a surprise hit on his hands last year with Midnight in Paris. People who expect the same magic again may be a little disappointed. Midnight in Paris utilizes it’s surroundings more effectively than To Rome with Love. Paris ultimately becomes an integral character in its own film, where Rome doesn’t make the leap beyond being just background, but oh what a background.
To Rome with Love isn’t Allen’s greatest achievement but there are definitively some laughs to be wrung from a man who once brought a moose to a costume party. (click the link you won’t be sorry)