Woody Allen? That’s my jam, y’all! I’m a huge fan and never miss a movie. So I was anxiously awaiting To Rome with Love.
Last year I traveled through Italy and Rome was my favorite place. Not just the beautiful parts like Vatican City, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain. I loved the graffiti and the dirty buses and subways. I fell head over heels with the grit and realness of the city in juxtaposition with such tremendous beauty. I would move there in a heartbeat. So I was ultra-excited for Woody’s latest film.
First, about Rome itself in the movie. You really only get to see the beautiful parts. The tourist attractions, architecture that could have been in Florence or pretty much anywhere in Italy, lemon groves, etc. It was all lovely to watch, but I was disappointed by the lack of grit. Yes, Rome is magical, but I was hoping to see Woody keep it real, too. But I guess he usually keeps it light and charming.
Having avoided all reviews ahead of time, I had little knowledge of what I was in for, other than Alec Baldwin’s presence. He tweeted a lot from Rome during filming, and that was my only exposure to the movie. Jesse Eisenberg was also in it, as well as a grossly miscast Ellen Paige. Woody Allen was also in the movie, which was a pleasant surprise. He hasn’t been in one of his movies since Scoop in 2006.
This is a vignette movie, and half the cast featured Italian actors, which meant half the movie was subtitled. I think this movie was truly meant for the people of Italy and Woody’s American audience was an afterthought. (That was fine with me.) I loved hearing the Italian and (spoiler alert!) the sublime opera that was part of Woody’s character’s storyline. Even done comedically, that kind of singing takes my breath away. I also have an instant crying reaction to opera. I love it so much. Those scenes alone are reason enough to go see this movie.
Roberto Benigni had a fun storyline. He is truly captivating to watch on screen. I wish I could say that about the American actors in the cast.
Ellen Paige Juno was so unconvincing as a femme fatale, I felt like that was the funniest part of the movie. Probably not intentional. I’m not sure how Alison Pill landed such a big role, too, but she’s just not worthy. Neither is Jesse Eisenberg, for that matter. Only Alec Baldwin and Judy Davis (who played Woody’s wife) had the respectability to pull off their roles.
To Rome with Love is not one of his finest films, but is worth a watch for its silly Italian humor, magic, and opera. And because it’s Woody Allen.
If you’ve seen it, please leave a comment. I’d love to know your opinion!