login | register

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Life is the ultimate work of art 

Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Woody Allen 
Starring: Penélope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall  
An image from Vicky Cristina Barcelona

As two American friends, Vicky (Hall) and Cristina (Johansson), spend their summer in Barcelona, they become involved with bohemian painter Juan Antonio (Bardem). When his quick-tempered ex-wife Maria Elena (Cruz) comes into play, all have to re-evaluate their relationships and principles of living.

The celebrated American director Woody Allen has once again crafted a beautiful piece of cinema, proving that he’s still full of fresh ideas after a long career. This film is an open-minded adventure in the complex world of human yearnings. It redefines the common notions of love and romance as the characters seek fulfilment in their lives, and each is bound to experience a revelation.

It’s not merely a whim of the director that the story takes place in Barcelona; it provides more than a stunning background scenery to the film. The leading cast is well-assembled and interacts harmoniously on screen. The lesser known Hall is on par with the Spanish star Bardem and the young and talented Johansson, yet Cruz is the one that excels among others. The carefully woven character of the ex-wife allows for a rich interpretation of a woman under the influence of great passion and misery. Cruz delivers a fine performance and her Oscar for best supporting actress is well-deserved.

Although at first sight it appears as a comedy, once you get past the adornments and into the minds of the characters, a sense of futility sinks in. Nobody really knows what they’re after, but the film makes it clear that life is not worth much until you start living it. It’s hard not to agree with Allen that it is “a very sad film”. Nevertheless, it is one of the finest and most illuminating of his recent works, nonjudgmental and free of psychological constraints.

Janis Klaise

More Information | Back to Previous Schedule | This Season  |  BBFC Classification Guidelines

Screenings of this film:

2008/2009 Summer Term (35mm)
2008/2009 Summer Term (35mm)