The people at the tourist board should rejoice
Obviously this tickles me, being a Swede myself, and yet I’m vaguely bothered by the idea. If Allen shoots a film in Sweden I want him to do it for the right reasons. I just don’t buy this thing about recording films at popular tourist destinations, which you then include in the title. It just sounds unlikely that this could be driven by pure artistic reasons, and that those stories just “happened” to take place in Barcelona, Paris and Rome. “To Rome With Love” is not what I’d call a proper title; it’s a shameless advertisement for the Italian Tourist Board.
Maybe I’m a bit unfair. After all I’ve never objected against James Bond travelling to the most ridiculous places. But right or wrong, I still cling to the idea of Allen being a passionate filmmaker rather than a calculating businessman.
Like a postcard
To Rome With Love consists of four stories, which have nothing to do with each other apart from taking place in the same city. It makes me think of one of those postcards that are for indecisive people like me, who can’t decide for which of the views of Rome that represents it best, so we take one with a split frame and get four in-in-one. The postcard comparison is also relevant in way they’ve put up the camera. I’ve never been to Rome myself, but according to a friend who has been there, the film shows all the essential places to go on a tourist trip to Rome. A coincidence?
Not too much should be revealed about the plot. I’ll just say the stories are funny and I laughed quite a bit – more than I recall laughing at Midnight in Paris last year.
The cast is as impressive as ever. Working with Allen seems to be the wet dream of every Hollywood actor.
However there is a problem that I can’t quite get around: all the four films within the film are a bit slight. The carrying joke in every storyline is fun at first sight, but it doesn’t hold up to being stretched out thin to fit the full-length format. I imagine they’d improve a lot if they were cut down, in one of the cases to as little as five or ten minutes. They’re short film material. But again: very few people are prepared to buy a theatre ticket to watch short films, regardless of how motivated it might be from an artistic point of view, so in reality it’s not an option.
My biased view
All in all I enjoyed the film a great deal more than I had imagined considering the pretty negative buss surrounding it.
It should be said though I’m probably a little bit biased. The circumstance that I’m going to Rome for a vacation trip in November, might have bumped my rating of the film with 0,5, if not more. I just couldn’t shut of the siren song of the city. And in that manner I suppose the film is working as intended.
The people at the tourist board should rejoice.
To Rome With Love (Woody Allen, US, 2012) My rating: 3,5/5