One of my favorite summer movies ever is "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." It is a delight to watch from beginning to end and reminds you of what an artistic genius Woody Allen is. I mean, it's Barcelona, it's the way it was shot (classic Woody cool - except it was warm and enticing under the Spanish sun) and most importantly, the actors. It's the actors. And it's Penelope Cruz.
Penelope won a well deserved Oscar for her role as artist Marie Elena, the wildly unpredictable ex-wife of Juan Antonio (played by Javier Bardem) who isn't only emotionally unstable but also very beautiful. When we finally see her after Juan Antonio picks her up from the hospital (after she tries to kill herself), we feel as though we've already met her. In fact, we have, because Woody Allen builds her character through conversations the other characters have about her. She's all Juan Antonio can talk about even when flanked by two American beauties: Cristina (played by Scarlett Johannsen) and Vicky (played by Rebecca Hall).
Marie Elena's tempestuous personality and untamed beauty are only enhanced by the way she moves. Her eyes tell so many stories, each sure to be better than the last. Every time I watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona, I marvel at how Penelope just disappears into Marie Elena. Into a world of mood swings, chain-smoking, and eroticism. And nothing completes the package like her personal style: black dresses and nighties as summer dresses, messy mascara, and Brigette Bardo hair. Summer muse, maybe?
This is one of my favorite scenes!