I’ve seen Rome, and I’ve seen Paris, and brother, let me tell you, To Rome With Love is no Midnight in Paris. Well, in all honesty, that’s not a new thought, it is merely an opinion already written by many who discuss films. I grafted that thought on to an even older statement that originated in the dark world of politics. That comment has been run through various word processors by lots of people, usually emerging with the same intent, but usually about a multitude of different subjects.
In my view, TRWL was simply a case of Woody Allen raiding his own cinematic cabinet, and recycling his own old recipes. After a rather silly opening in which a Roman vigili (that’s Italian for traffic policeman) interrupts his direction of the flow of traffic to tell us that he sees all of Rome’s people in his work and they all have stories. It’s not a whole lot of words with deep meaning but it was the truth. The film is a bunch of collected stories of people in Rome. Notice I said collected and not connected.
We meet Woody Allen, he’s a retired director of operas, and Judy Davis who play a married couple (Jerry & Phyllis) flying to Italy to meet their daughter Hayley (Alison Pill) who is taking the summer off and living it up in Roma. We join them on the plane where Woody/Jerry is a nervous wreck after some momentary turbulence. As usual, Allen is manic – the gestures, the incredibly worried look on his face – we’ve all seen this before, as has his wife. As sane and as calm and level-headed as she is, Allen’s Jerry is her opposite.
Hayley, their daughter stops a young man on the street. He’s named Michelangelo, and Hayley is hoping for directions to The Trevi Fountain. The directions are a bit complex. Woody likes to use this as a way having people either meet or get lost, so it is repeated multiple times throughout the film. Turns out the Hayley and this guy hit it off and become a couple.
Meanwhile in another part of town – I’m not sure, but I think the except for the usual tourist high spots – most of the film was shot in the Trastavere neighborhood, a man who routinely wakes at 7:00 AM everyday (we see this event, followed by breakfasts, at least 3-4 times) is a clerk in an office. This may be Rome, but Allen makes sure we get that men in offices, that hangout at the water cooler, are the same everywhere. They banter around, trading quips and put downs, while they can’t take their eyes off a leggy and busty secretary who raises their temperatures. Read More