To Rome with Love – Weird and Wonderful
Directed by Woody Allen.
Written by Woody Allen.
Produced by Faruk Alatan, Letty Aronson, Giampaolo Letta.
Production companies: Medusa Film, Gravier Productions, Perdido Productions.
UK release date: 14th September 2012.
Review may contain spoilers.
Weird and wonderful; a definitive taste of the inordinate relationship affiliated stories Woody Allen has to offer.
Despite To Rome With Love receiving a majority of negative reviews from the critics, I found that the film has a lot more to offer than may first appear. A conjoint interpretation is that audiences should expect a so-called ‘pay-off’ to the film with a climatic scene, but this just isn’t necessary and quite frankly wouldn’t do the script justice. The audience has already delved into four alternate stories, each quirky and highly fulfilling to tell the least: a working man wakes up to find himself a celebrity, an architect who revisits Rome superficially encounters a relationship comparative to his past, a youthful couple vacate to Rome on their honeymoon and an aggravated opera director uncovers a new talent.
Interpreting Allen’s other work, these stories may seem stale in comparison (Match Point, Midnight In Paris) but they are nonetheless still cunningly plotted and full of surprises. This work is no less intrinsic than the critically acclaimed which came out of notable nouvelle vague (new wave) directors over 40 years ago (Jean-Luc Goddard, Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol etc.). In fact, Allen arguably bestows his buoyancy to match the likes of Luis Bunuel and Alain Resnais – key contributors to the movement. For example, in one of the scenes, the Italian father (played by opera singer Fabio Armiliato) shares his undiscovered voice at the opera house after being confronted by Woody Allen’s character Jerry, but comes onto stage in a portable shower as to abide by his convention of only truly being able to do justice whilst singing in the shower. Here, the audience is presented with and rather shocked by a scene of surrealistic entirety, comparable to that of when Bunuel’s characters are eating dinner at the table in The Discreet Charm de Bourgeois and suddenly the curtains open to reveal that they are in fact on stage where a boundless theatrical audience eagerly awaits there non-existent performance. Again, similar themes come to mind in The Phantom of Liberty where Bunuel shows residences of a dinner party sat around the table on lavatories.
Moreover, in To Rome With Love, a character is established wishing to be a more prodigious individual and consequently be glamorous enough to ‘go to bed’ with his work colleague. Instead, he ends up becoming ludicrously famous for no apparent reason; subsequently he’s now able to sleep with this beautiful woman alongside many others! Scenes of a surrealist nature include the man being escorted away to a TV studio and interviewed about his morning procedures. There is no rational explanation for this other than the fact that Allen is displaying his aptitude for avant-gardism, and considering his status as an established auteur of cinema, this is deemed acceptable. It’s my personal opinion, but I love to see this trait in a filmmaker; push the boundaries. Okay, it’s been done before to great extent in the ‘60’s and ‘70s, but cinema repeats itself so why not repeat the latent areas that so often get left behind.
Rome is categorically the city of love and To Rome with Love obtains this concept and enriches it with exquisite elements of story-telling, undeniably not everyone’s understanding, yet the film is entertaining and more importantly, at least for some, culturally embellished.