To Rome With Love Review

Love him or loathe him, that Woody Allen’s a funny guy.

Or at least he used to be.

Having seemingly peaked in the seventies with cinema classics like Annie Hall, Allen’s undergone some what of resurgence of late.

And To Rome With Love continues that apace.

We start in Rome with John, a successful american architect who’s returned to the Rome suburb he once spent a summer studying with his college girlfriend.

As his wife and their friends go and see all their tourist traps that John’s already seen, he begs off so he can take a trip down memory lane instead.

As he revisits his past, so John’s past revisits him as he looks back on the great and not so great times he had in Italy’s capital city.

To Rome With Love is a tale of love lost and found, and a lot more beside.

Taking its lead from the success of Allen’s overrated oscar nominated Midnight In Paris, the iconic New York auteur has moved onto Italy as he continues his cinematic tour of Europe.

Using familiar plot devices to his previous film, Allen blends the past with the present in a rather seamless and enjoyable way.

Alec Baldwin plays John, Jesse Eisenberg is some kid he bumps into while looking for the place he used to live while Ellen Page and Greta Gerwig play the significant others in both of these men’s lives.

But To Rome With Love is more than just a single story, as Allen weaves three other romantic tales into this dominant thread.

The result is a lot more pleasing than you might think, as Allen deftly bounces from one narrative to the next that show the different stages relationships go through.

So while some plots focus purely on love, others deal with fidelity and newly married couples, the classic Italian concept of women as the Madonna and whore and even a social commentary on the vacuous nature of modern celebrity.

Woody Allen makes his first appearance as an actor seven years as the father of a bride to be who visits Rome to meet their future parents in law.

Not everything works, and Allen’s own thread becomes the most tiresome as they stretch it’s thin comic idea too far by the end, but all the other stories are light, funny and I enjoyed To Rome With Love a lot more than the often contrived vanity project that Midnight In Paris felt like to me.

So that Woody Allen is still funny, even if some people hate to admit that.

Jonathan Campbell

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September 2012
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