Summer Movie Review: ‘To Rome with Love’ proves the critics wrong

Elizabeth Golden

To Rome with Love reflects Woody Allen’s advice, “If my films don’t show a profit, then I’m doing something right.”

Despite poor ratings and a lack of turn out, Allen does it again with his 50th production.

To Rome with Love follows several different story lines, and to some, this may be a discombobulated mess, but Allen relies on the messages behind the stories to give the film its true meaning.

Architect John (Alec Baldwin) has an encounter with his younger self, Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) while walking along the streets of Rome. Jack is just beginning his career, unsure of the direction the world will take him, and unaware of the formation of his very own love triangle. John acts as his inner conscience, attempting to set his former self straight, knowing the fate of every wrong turn.

The second story line stars Woody Allen himself in one of his most personal roles to date. Jerry (Allen), an irrationally phobic opera director, flies to Rome to visit his daughter, Hailey (Alison Pill) and her new fiancé Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti). Although the meeting of the parents may be an important event in many lives, the true story involves Michelangelo’s father, Giancarlo (renowned tenor Fabio Armiliato), who has been hiding his amazing voice.

Leopoldo Pisanello (Roberto Benigni), who is a completely average guy in every possible way, wakes up one moment to discover he is famous for no conceivable reason. When asking a reporter why, the reporter replies, “You are famous for being famous.”

He soon realizes the cost of fame and then is replaced by someone carrying laundry who is said to look “more interesting.”

The final story involves Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi) and his wife Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi) who both encounter uncanny romances.

Antonio, seduced by a hooker (Penélope Cruz), gets some tips for being a better husband while his wife decides if its better to regret what she has already done or regret what she could have done but didn’t as she is romanced by legendary movie star Luca Salta (Antonio Albanese).

Some stories are funny. Some are sad. Some are irritating. Some are so random; it is inconceivable how Allen thought up the concept.

Although the story quality may be debatable, the inner messages are not. For an untrained eye, this film comes across very messy, but with deeper analysis, certain themes are made clear. This is a film about dreams and the problems that arise from them. Allen makes the audience aware of this with hard to miss lines.

Hailey speaks of her relationship with Michelangelo as a fairytale come true while Allen has an entire scene dedicated to the meaning of these dreams and even admits how he has always been ahead of his time.

That line rings true for more than just the character he plays. Each story line follows a dream and concludes with the harsh realization that the dream might not be all that was hoped for.

Allen also uses this film to poke fun at the entertainment industry system, of which he is not a huge fan.. Those who have an interest in film studies and/or the life of Woody Allen may only understand several jokes in the film making To Rome with Love seem like an inside joke in the film industry.

Being a hard-core Woody Allen fan, it is hard not to love this film. With touching stories, an emotional core and classic Woody Allen humor, To Rome with Love definitely fits in with other “ahead of their time” Allen films. You may not appreciate this style, and unless you are a hard-core film buff or someone who looks at a film for an emotional response, this may not be for you.

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