Vicky and Cristina, although are at a similar age, find themselves to be on completely opposite sides of the spectrum in regards to love. “One is a pragmatist in love, and knows what she wants; the other is ruled by all-consuming passions that flare up and just as suddenly fade” (Robey). These contrasting attitudes and lifestyles can make up the majority of human interaction and love. In numerous ways, people can identify with both of these characters. There is a side of all beings that longs for some form of companionship, especially in a uniquely intimate way. On the other hand, there is a part of us that seeks something greater, unknown, and uncertain. Cristina, with her attitude of “knowing only what she doesn’t want”, can speak to all people in some way or another. It is hard to define what one needs if one hasn’t experienced it yet. And Vicky, with her certain, yet excitement-lacking love life, speaks to many people who have been in this situation. This lifestyle can spark many to seek out excitement, wherever and whenever it may arise.
The cities depicted in this story appeared to come to life through views of the architecture, art, color, and music; and played a monumental part in the overall feeling of the film. “Allen makes Barcelona a character in the film, rather than merely a location, creating an almost fable-like setting for Vicky and Cristina…[which] opens them to possibilities they’d previously never imagined” (Voynar). This movie seems to be just as much about Spain as it is the main characters. Engulfing his viewers in Spanish culture, Allen creates a beautiful, yet realistic view of Spanish life, with an emphasis on artistic expression and sexual tension. The powerful scene in which Juan and Vicky visit the flamenco guitarist lacks dialogue, but that scene could say more about the Spanish lifestyle and culture than any talented narrator or actor ever could.
This film spoke to me in numerous ways. First of all, the life led by Juan Antonio directly projects the artistic, bohemian lifestyle that has become ever-so-appealing throughout the years. In one scene, Juan Antonio is seen, cigarette in hand, splashing paint on a black canvas. This is the way some people actually live! The passion and dedication that is portrayed by this character explains why we have so much beautiful, creative artwork in this world. Basically because some people are able to completely commit to a cause or expression regardless of the monetary rewards. In comparing the revelations experienced by the characters to my own experiences traveling in London, I find many similarities. The sole idea that these two characters, although at very different phases in their lives, wanted to get away and see a different part of the world hits home. My longing for taking this trip, regardless of the school requirements it fulfills, began with the simple need to see the world and experience new cultures. Part of this trip is fueled by the motivation to cease to focus on the things that used to give me identity, and create identity by having an open mind towards new experiences and people. By experiencing new cultures, people, architecture, ideas, etc. one learns valuable information about how the world works outside of one’s geographical (and mental) “bubble”.
Another important element of this film was the depiction of Vicky’s husband. A golfing business man, this character fits the stereotypical frat-boy image that seemed to be the exact opposite of what Vicky was looking for. The film gives off the impression that by experiencing a new lifestyle, Vicky begins to realize that she may need more out of her life, friends, and significant other than she previously thought. It has been increasingly easy for me to identify with these feelings. The mundane lifestyle that I continuously attempt to navigate away from seems to inevitably creep up in one form or another. But I guess that’s just a part of life at times. Maybe the real trick is learning how to deal with that, and continue. But there is a point in every person’s life when they have to take a look around, whether it be at the people they surround themselves with or the environment in which they spend their time, and ask a question: Does this make me happy? It is easy, especially in today’s world of constant indulgence and narcissism, to get stuck in a rut. But the real trick is getting out. And, in regards to the ending of this film, that’s what the audience usually expects to see… a breakthrough… a revelation. But Allen didn’t give us that.
Voynar, Kim. "Cannes Review: Vicky Cristina Barcelona -." Cinematical. 22 July 2009
Robey, Tim. "Vicky Cristina Barcelona, review - Telegraph." Telegraph.co.uk: news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph - Telegraph. 22 July 2009