Romance in Rome

Romance in Rome

To Rome with love
English (A)
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Woody Allen, Ellen Page, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg

Woody Allen’s latest movie with its wonderful cast and satirical humour exudes all the warmth and excitement that a place like Rome does.

The movie is about four different stories which touch upon the vulnerability of relationships. Although the movie has nothing exceptional to offer, the light stories beautifully blended with a variety of characters in a breathtakingly picturesque setting is worth a watch.

All the four sub-stories are introduced by a traffic policeman in the busy streets of Rome. Hayley (Alison Pill), a tourist from New York meets Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti) by chance and falls in love. Her parents, retired opera director Jerry (Woody Allen) and Phyllis (Judy Davis) fly to Rome to meet the future in-laws. Jerry, who cannot even “share his bathroom”, is highly skeptical of his future son-in law being “communist” and fears getting along with him.

On the other hand, Jerry is determined to prove to his wife that he doesn’t ‘equate retirement to death’. He recognises immense talent in Michelangelo’s father, a mortician who sings “only for pleasure” and tries to convince him that there is “pleasure in money.” He works his way to take his talent from the shower to the stage.

Meanwhile, Leopoldo Pissenello (Roberto Benigni) is a family man leading an ordinary life as a clerk. Constantly complaining about the lack of jobs and depressed that the “whole world will one day be speaking Chinese”, he is suddenly confronted with the glamorous life of a celebrity.

His life is completely transformed when he has to “share” himself with the paparazzi, social elites and all the women attracted to him. Some aspects of this story are slightly overdone. But it shows the dilemma of a man who wants the best of both lives, of a commoner and a celebrity.

In another story, Milly and Antonio is a boring honeymoon couple who happen to go separate ways for a day. They end up meeting absolute strangers and having sexy adventures with them. Anna (Penelope Cruz) is a wise prostitute who teaches Antonio some unexpected lessons in life, which would change his life for the better.

In the meantime, John (Alec Baldwin) meets Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) while trying to retrace his past in Rome. Jack introduces him to his boring girlfriend Sally.

All the while, he is attracted to Sally’s temptress visiting friend Monica (Ellen Page). Baldwin plays the role of Jack’s ‘good conscience’, warning him of trouble. But will that make a difference in Jack’s decisions?

Baldwin’s role is memorable and Ellen Page is probably the only wrong cast in the movie. Page is still the teenager she played in ‘Juno’ and a stronger seductress could render Monica more believable. Nevertheless, each story has its own charm.

Woody Allen, yet again, tries to confront us with the magic question. Can we see everything happening right in front of our eyes and still estrange ourselves from the truth?

This is indeed a movie of dreams for dreamers.

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