To Rome with Love

To Rome with Love

(2012)

Woody Allen's Italy-set comedy. The awesome ensemble cast includes Allen, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Penélope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Greta Gerwig and Roberto Benigni. The story is comprised of four separate vignettes, following the romantic misadventures of various characters in Rome - a retired American opera director tries to make a star of his daughter's father-in-law to be, who can only sing in the shower; a pair of newlyweds are separated for a day and have their fidelity tested by a prostitute, movie star and a burglar; a middle-class office worker unexpectedly becomes a celebrity targeted by the paparazzi; and an architect runs into a young man who reminds him of a younger version of himself - and is about to make the same romantic mistakes.... More

This is Allen's 43rd feature film. The last time he appeared on screen as an actor was in 2006's Scoop.Hide

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Flicks Review

The extent to which you’re prepared to enjoy To Rome with Love will be determined not only by your overall Woody Allen appreciation but by your ability to enjoy some deliberately wacky comic decisions. That’s because Allen pursues a decidedly non-contemporary route here, employing absurd comedy devices that may have felt more at home in the 70s or early 80s. An amateur opera singer who can only perform on stage within an environment like that of his bathroom, for example, or Alec Baldwin as an imaginary confidante invisible to all except Jesse Eisenberg.... More

Jumping back and forth between four stories in what amounts to an intercut anthology format helps with this cinematic time capsule feeling, with each of the four tales ending with essentially the same running time as a long sketch. This negates the need for over-explanation, with each scenario playing out to a comfortable and self-contained resolution without Allen feeling compelled to unnecessarily pull the various plot strands together.

Unlike a typical anthology format, it’s hard to identify the best or worst of the bunch. They all possess the same pleasant silliness, which will charm or enrage depending on your viewpoint. To Rome with Love boasts a strong cast with great work from the aforementioned Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg (in the film’s closest thing to a “Woody Allen role” apart from Woody Allen’s actual role), a surprisingly not annoying Roberto Benigni, and a (deliberately) infuriating Ellen Page amongst others. I liked it – but I can see why some won’t.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 2 ratings, 2 reviews
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I do find Woody Allen a bit annoying and did so in this flick. Only deserves 2.5 stars. The whole Alec Baldwin in the background talking thing was bizarre and the constant swooning over Ellen Page saying she is beautiful sexy etc etc. Come on - she is a small child-like tom-boy. Penelope Cruz was funny and sexy, always a pleasure.


After the enjoyable, but not particularly experimental, Midnight in Paris, it's nice to see Woody Allen trying something a little more out there. The unique format of completely disconnected anthology episodes is interesting and successful, as it manages to maintain audience engagement consistently. The choice to have two stories completely told in Italian is also interesting. It would have undoubtedly made Allen's directorial work more difficult, possibly in a similar way to his decision to... More shoot one segment of a previous anthology film, 1972's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, in Italian, however in that case it was he who spoke the language, learning it phonetically.

As Steve Newall said, the humor feels like it would be more at place in the 1970s, however I don't know if this is necessarily a bad thing. It is simply a stylistic difference from today's comedies, and Allen is one of the best at working within this style. The climax of the shower singing storyline is hilarious, as are many of Roberto Benigni's pantomimes. The Jesse Eisenberg lead story is less laugh-out-loud, but it is a valid entry in Allen's canon of love triangle dramedies, mainly because of the cast, in which Ellen Page and Alec Baldwin particularly shine when it come to delivering dialogue.

I really enjoyed this. It's one of Allen's worst, but in my opinion he's never made a bad film (no, not even Melinda and Melinda), so even a bad Allen film is better than most other works on the market. I'm a fan though, so who cares what I say.

Final note, the name is truly awful. It implies that To Rome With Love is an attempt to encapsulate the nature of the city, akin to Manhattan, but really the location is incidental.Hide


The Press Reviews

43% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Palatable overall, if vaguely inauthentic and unsatisfying, like an allegedly local meal bought at a tourist restaurant. Full Review

  • Generates no particular excitement or surprise, but it provides the sort of pleasure [Allen] seems able to generate almost on demand. Full Review

  • Baldwin, Cruz and Davis shine in a farce that overstretches itself into bellylaugh hits, but also some satirical misses. Full Review

  • There is some fun to be had with all the discomfiture and unease; but some of the jokes and situations simply don't work. Full Review

  • Allen has gone tone-deaf this time around... almost never rings true. Full Review

  • One of the most delightful things about "To Rome With Love" is how casually it blends the plausible and the surreal, and how unabashedly it revels in pure silliness. Full Review

  • Four trivial stories, forced laughs: don't expect much more from Allen's latest postcard from Europe. Full Review

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