REVIEW: To Rome With Love

To Rome With Love marks an impressive 43rd Woody Allen feature film and becomes yet another addition to the list of romantic-comedy that he has been symbolized for throughout his career. After his critically acclaimed hit Midnight In Paris last year, Allen’s latest immediately does not show the natural essence of beauty, originality and storyline that he is capable of doing. However, because it is, after all, another Woody Allen romantic-comedy, he was bound to provide something new to the table. To Rome With Love may not be one of his most enchanting or funniest film that you’ll see but it is at least satisfactory to watch.

Regarding multiple number of storylines, To Rome With Love could have suffered massively due to predictability, lack of performance/character development or without serving a meaningful message or meaning. However, there was surprisingly a sense of creativity within To Rome With Love as each of the storylines featured a various number of unexpected twists and turns. Therefore, we weren’t quite as prepared for what was going to happen as we have been with films such as Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. On the other hand, To Rome With Love still has its downfalls, production wise, that only makes it average. Each of the stories felt somewhat incomplete, the ending was very rushed and at times, scenes were a tad overlong, overwritten and overdramatic. Nevertheless, Woody Allen can do so much better than To Rome With Love but at the same time, he can do ten times worse.

Allen may not have delivered at a very high standard in terms of directing and writing, but he returned to acting for the first time since his 2006 film Scoop and makes a triumphant comeback and is, therefore, the star of the show. You could compare Allen to Clint Eastwood who makes on and off roles in his films as director but, Woody Allen’s role as Jerry, an aging father, with a high IQ and possibly autistic disorder is simply extraordinary. Jerry is awkwardly funny to watch and you can very easily relate the character to the symptoms of autism. There wasn’t an official leading actor in To Rome With Love but if there’s one that is a ‘leader’, regarding top performances, it belongs to Woody Allen. Furthermore, Jesse Eisenberg performed once again in his trademark student-like approach as Jack. A more than satisfactory performance in a role related to Eisenberg’s character at a high level of acting is rather difficult to pull off. Eisenberg is still a very talented actor who manages to maintain a satisfactory love triangle storyline.

Ellen Page stars alongside him as the proclaimed highly sexually active Monica. Although she is a pretty young girl, Page was slightly miscast for the role because she lacks that sexual desire that illustrates the character. Among the rest of the American and Canadian cast are another wide range of other continental performers. First, Italian actor Roberto Benigni, most notably the star and Academy Award winner of La Vita É Bella (Life Is Beautiful), portrayed Leopoldo Pisanello – another ‘leader’ of a third storyline. Pisanello is an ordinary clerk who out of nowhere becomes a national celebrity. His character adds a slight comical touch to it and arouses a message that being a celebrity doesn’t always make you happy. In addition, fellow Italian actor, Alessandro Tiberi’s role as Antonio became the final ‘leader’ of each storyline. That story is told of a young, newly married man who’s expecting his wife at the hotel but is instead confronted by a prostitute (portrayed by Penelope Cruz). Having said that, his new wife ends up winding in a bewildering adventure herself and uncomfortable outcomes await. This does not deliver on any messages or grasp any raw emotion but it is quite possibly the most unpredictable story of the four. Therefore, that story deserves a small ounce of credit.

Unfortunately, Woody Allen’s current motion picture could be immediately criticized due to the multiple of storylines and having the approach of a typical Hollywood rom-com. Still, it does have its rather crucial flaws in terms of dialogue, direction, pacing and partially acting, there were some surprisingly interesting and unique plot concepts and characters that makes it worth at least one viewing. Allen manages to bend round what could have been a chronological mess and, thus, makes another rom-com that perhaps doesn’t quite make the list among his greatest films but is still decent enough to enjoy.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 15/10/2012.

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