Woody Allen‘s latest, To Rome With Love is told in four separate vignettes and tells the stories of a clerk (Roberto Benigni) who wakes up to find himself a celebrity, an architect (Alec Baldwin) who takes a trip back to the street he lived on as a student and the couple he meets (Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg), a young couple (Alessandro Tiberi and Alessandra Mastronardi) on their honeymoon that is interrupted by an escort (Penélope Cruz), and a funeral director (Fabio Armiliato) who has a talent for singing in the shower.
Written, directed by, and starring Woody Allen, To Rome With Love is a very hit and miss film. Giving the occasional laugh in four separate stories of love and life, it doesn’t quite hold the same spark as Allen’s other work, but it does have the same appeal, even if it isn’t pushing any boundaries.
Whilst To Rome With Love is typically a romance, it is still and foremost a Woody Allen romance, looking at how the mind works and wonders when in a loving relationship, something Allen often explores in his films, rather than over-dramatised happily ever after’s. It may not specifically be about love, but the film explores many interesting and varying relationships, all of which are easy to engage with.
The use of woven stories works really well, but it is also the film’s biggest downfall. If this whole film was Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, and Alec Baldwin alone, I would have absolutely loved it, as their storyline was hilarious. But in actuality, a film about any of these stories would have been fantastic, as each of them was interesting and well told. Unfortunately, none of the stories linked in any way, and going back and forth between them constantly meant that too much was going on, not allowing enough time to invest in any of them properly.
In the end, it was all rather wasted, as there was a lot of potential that just didn’t come together in the right way. Still, it was a decent and typical Woody Allen romantic comedy, with a great cast in a beautiful city.
To Rome With Love was released on DVD on 11th February.