“Well, if something seems too good to be true is because it’s probably not.”
If you’ve ever been to Rome (especially in the summer) you’d know the city was filled with of course some of the most historic ruins known to date, but also millions of people from all over the world either passing through, living, or spending time in Italy’s capital–increasing the likelihood that you too could end up finding your soulmate somewhere over there.
In Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love, you have 13 of these millions of people, all effected by some sort of relationship either happening in Rome, beginning in Rome, or on the brinks in Rome–adopting many of the techniques used in Paris, je t’aime, a film that was a group effort directed by anyone from the Coen brothers to Gus Van Sant.
The first scene opens with a present day “see all, know all” cop who tells the audience how he overlooks everything that happens in the city as he coordinates the busy flow of people. Then you quickly fall into the many character’s different situations: Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) and Sally’s (Greta Gerwig) new love triangle, after Sally’s friend Phyllis (Judy Davis) visits and changes everything with her good looks and know-it-all attitude that for some reason drives Jack crazy (in love). Then you have a newlywed couple Antonio and Milly (Alessandro Tiberi and Alessandra Mastronardi), who get separated for an entire day and end up encountering some new love lessons (and sex lessons!) of their own. The last couple, Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti) and Hayley (Alison Pill), meet by chance when Hayley needed directions and Michelangelo happened to be traveling the same way, in love ever since. And now they’re getting ready to be married, their parents about to meet for the very first time (that’s where Allen’s hilarious character the ex opera director Jerry comes in).
But Woody’s latest wouldn’t be complete without Alec Baldwin chiming in every so often (he meets Jack in a Roman alleyway), giving his tid bits of advice throughout: constantly warning Jack of the flakiness of Phyllis’ character, teaching us all a little bit about the warning signs of a relationship disaster waiting to happen. To Rome with Love is fun and sharp; there’s never a dull moment in the dialogue and Allen’s character definitely lives up to the traditional cynicism used in his earlier films like Manhattan, making the film worth while.
(photo via filmofilia.com)