Rashid Irani's review: To Rome With Love

  • To Rome With Love

    To Rome With Love is about the lives of some visitors and residents of Rome and the romances, adventures and predicaments they get into. Check ...

  • Woody Allen's To Rome With Love

    To Rome With Love is directed by Woody Allen.

  • Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) shows his girlfriend's best friend Monica (Ellen Page)

    An architecture student Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) shows his girlfriend's best friend Monica (Ellen Page) around Rome.

  • To Rome with love

    Monica and Jack soon find that they are attracted to each other.

  • To Rome With Love

    Alec Baldwin plays a well-known architect, who's visiting Rome with friends. He also seems to predict the love dilemma Jack faces between his girlfriend and ...

  • John (Baldwin) pops up behind Jack and Monica

    In this scene, the way John (Baldwin) pops up behind Jack and Monica, he is predicted to be either Jack’s future self or Jack’s conscience ...

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  • Antonio has to pass off Anna as his wife Milly

    On the other hand, Penelope Cruz plays Anna, a prostitute, who mistakes Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi) for a client. And for some complicated reason, Antonio has ...

  • To Rome with Love

    Meanwhile, Anna is persistent and persuasive about having sex with Antonio.

  • Roberto Benigni

    Roberto Benigni plays an old man who lives a mundane life with his wife and two children until suddenly he finds himself to be a ...

To Rome with Love
Direction: Woody Allen
Actors: Woody Allen, Penelope Cruz
Rating: ***

Following his recent cinematic forays in London (Cassandra’s Dream), Barcelona (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) and Paris (Midnight In Paris), Woody Allen’s European excursion continues on the sun-dappled streets of “the eternal city”.

Aiming to offer fresh insights on amore, adultery and the fickleness of fame, To Rome With Love unfortunately doesn’t break any new ground for the prolific writer-director. Despite his usual repertoire of punchy one-liners, Allen’s star-studded valentine can’t quite deliver on its comedic premise.

Four unrelated storylines are strung together to explore a roundelay of romantic entanglements.  In the first and arguably funniest segment, Allen himself portrays a retired opera director who ventures to the Italian capital with his psychiatrist wife (Judy Davis) to meet their daughter’s fiancé and his parents. The former impresario decides to promote the operatic career of the young man’s father (prominent real-life tenor Fabio Armiliato). 

RomeHilarity ensues as the unlikely new star can only belt out arias while in the shower. The next two vignettes feature typical Romans speaking in their native tongue (ergo, a whole lot of English subtitles). A newlywed couple is separated soon after checking into a hotel. While the bride has a romantic dalliance with a married movie star, her husband winds up in bed with a voluptuous object of desire (Cruz, exuberant as ever). Meanwhile, a harried businessman (Oscar winner Roberto Benigni) attains celebrity status for no apparent reason before reverting to his previous everyman existence.

The final narrative strand revolves around an American architecture student (Jesse Eisenberg) torn between his current girlfriend and their visiting house guest (Ellen Page).

Matters are further complicated with the arrival of a renowned architect (Alec Baldwin) who may or may not be the young man’s older self.

As an actor Woody Allen, in his first role since Scoop (2006), is in scintillating form delivering quips with his all-too-familiar drawl.

Though the characterisations aren’t quite as developed as one would expect, the slap-happy pacing and seductive locations (courtesy cinematographer Darius Khondji) certainly compensate.

The veteran  auteur’s 42nd feature, To Rome With Love is recommended for the fluff-seekers.


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