Let me just start by mentioning that I’m not a fan of Woody Allen. That being said, To Rome With Love is a pretty hilarious telling of a large number of people, tourists as well as those native to Italy, played by an all-star cast – many of which never cross paths with each other. With names like Roberto Benigni, Judy Davis, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisengerg, Penélope Cruz, Ellen Page and (of course) Woody Allen, how can you go wrong. This movie is about one thing: life – and that the only predictable thing about life is its unpredictability. This idea is the driving force behind the chance encounters and conversations between all characters. The neurotic, uncontrolled style of Woody Allen, who both wrote and directed the film, exists as a recognizable signature that has a presence throughout every scene. Dialogue is short and choppy; the staging of characters is similar to that of a Broadway play; none of the lead characters are what most people would refer to as ‘normal’; the setting is that of a bustling, diverse and colorful urban city (much of Allen’s work has taken place in New York). That’s what’s refreshing about To Rome With Love – the change in scenery. Just as much of the film is in English as in Italian. The diversity of the characters and their wildly unpredictable experiences, told over the short time in which the film takes place, keeps things interesting and truly demands that attention be paid to every moment.
Those familiar with Woody Allen will know that the unpredictability in this film is not only expected… it’s inevitable. The whole point is that no point is ever made. These characters don’t necessarily grow, learn or accomplish anything during the telling of the story. There are conversations about life, dreams, expectations and sex. In fact, sex (as in most of Allen’s films) plays a major role. Oh, and don’t forget adultery, prostitution and general sexual exploration. And then there’s the unnerving feeling that nothing makes any sense at all – it’s almost as though all these experiences are but figments of the characters’ imaginations because they’re so outlandish and unnecessarily random. But that’s Woody Allen. This film is funny; it’s random; it’s strange – very strange. And though I walked away feeling like I had woken from a dream that could only occur after a long night of heavy drinking, I loved it.
More info at IMDB.