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Vicky (Rebecca Hall) wants Doug (Chris Messina), her handsome fiancé.
Cristina, fresh from a break-up, only knows what she doesn’t want. When the longtime friends happen upon the gruff-voiced Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) during a trip to Spain, even Vicky cannot resist a sexual adventure of the highest, PG-13 calling.
Thus begins writer/director Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008), a mighty interesting look at how conventions and desires overlap and drift apart. Mesa Public Library will show the film at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, as part of the library’s Free Film Series.
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” has flaws. The narrator waxes a bit too pseudo-sagaciously, the Woody-Allen-ness of the characters often threatens to overwhelm, and the characters don’t, ultimately, change as dramatically as I want them to. But the film succeeds, mostly because of Penélope Cruz.
The film’s strongest scenes feature Cruz as Juan Antonio’s former wife, Maria Elena, who, despite being the stereotypical “crazy ex-wife,” redefines many words associated with love, including “partner” (with whom?) and “commitment” (to what?).
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