Add to that an extraordinary location like Rome, one of the most beautiful cities in the city in the world, with its warm light and its unrivaled panorama, and you have an idea of my (and everyone else’s) excitement for the last chapter of Woody’s European tour. In fact, after five European movies in the last seven years, shot between London, Barcelona and Paris, the brilliant American comedian, screenwriter, author, director, actor, author, and playwright, chose Italy and Rome as the background for his neurotic and insecure characters.
However, it’s not always good to have high expectations. When you expect the best of the best, even a good movie risks leaving you unsatisfied. That’s probably what happened to “To Rome with Love,” released in Italy on April 20th, lambasted by Italian critics and part of the public, despite some great moments and various funny scenes.
The movie revolves around four different and separate stories. On the screen we see: Jack and Sally, a young American couple studying in Rome, with an intriguing friend, Monica, who has just arrived from the States; Leopoldo Pisanello (Roberto Benigni) a average looking man, who suddenly becomes a television-star; Michelangelo and Hayley, who fell in love and have to cope with the arrival of Jerry and Phyllis, her American parents (Woody Allen and Judy Davis); Antonio and Milly, a married couple who have just arrived in Rome, but are soon divided by a series of misunderstandings.
All the characters struggle to find their way between love and unfaithfulness, success and real life, an ambitious future and a hopeless present. As often seen in Woody’s movies over the last few years, the ultimate lesson is that, for better of worse, people are powerless before life and its demons, first of all love.
“To Rome with love” may not be Woody Allen’s best movie (it is not). It lacks the verve of his best works and, in fact, it sometimes slips on some avoidable Italian stereotypes. However, the whole movie is enjoyable, with some wonderful scenes in the Rome sunlight, and enough good jokes to reassure us on the good health of Woody’s creativity.