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To Rome With Love Review

Updated on July 9, 2012
Woody & Penelope
Woody & Penelope
Jesse Eisenberg and Greta Gerwig
Jesse Eisenberg and Greta Gerwig
Benigni Fleeing the Papparazi
Benigni Fleeing the Papparazi
Penelope and Antonio's Rich Uncle
Penelope and Antonio's Rich Uncle

To Rome with Love

Woody Allen scores again--writing, directing and starring in one of his satirical comedies about society's frailties and relationships--between men and women, parents and children, and the vacuity of television and celebrity.

Woody's character is a retired opera director, and he and his psychiatrist wife are visiting their young daughter in Rome who has become engaged to a handsome young Italian lawyer. Woody is disappointed when he discovers that his daughter's fiance's father Giancarlo is a small-time mortician. However, he is impressed by his Giancarlo's virtuoso voice when he overhears him singing in the shower. Woody persuades Giancarlo to appear for a tryout by a local opera company. The tryout flops, but Woody remains convinced that Giancarlo should be singing Pagliacci at La Scala and in New York. However, it dawns on Woody that the man sounds spectacular only when he's singing in the shower. So he stages a rave performance with Giancarlo singing Pagliacci in a shower on the theater stage.

A second vignette is a farce involving a recently married couple, Antonio and Milly, and a prostitute played by Penelope Cruz. Just as Antonio was changing his clothes, she appears at his hotel room, and claims that a session with her was already paid for, and won't take no for an answer. They are surprised in bed his uncles and aunts who came for lunch and to meet his new wife. (Milly had left their hotel room to get her hair done before meeting the relatives.) Antonio avoids immediate disaster by introducing Penelope to his stuffy relatives as his wife Milly. She accompanies Antonio and his relatives to an exclusive party where many important business associates were present. Turns out that nearly a dozen of them were clients of Penelope.

A third subplot involves Jesse Eisenberg and Greta Gerwig, students in Rome living together. Greta makes the mistake of inviting a friend from the states played by Ellen Page to move in with her and Eisenberg. One thing quickly leads to another and Eisenberg falls for Page against the advice of his acquaintance and possibly phantom mentor played by Alec Baldwin.

A fourth vignette is a send-up of the inanity of television celebrity. Alberto Benigni plays a clerk who suddenly, for no reason, becomes a TV celebrity constantly pursued by papparazzi and idiot TV interviewers.

To Rome with Love doesn't measure up to Midnight in Paris, but it's an entertaining, quite clever satirical comedy.


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    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      7 years ago from The High Seas

      Well if you ever find out anymore it would be a great read.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      7 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your comment and your interest. I don't know anything more about the story. I have a copy of the letter he wrote to his wife back on the farm in Smoland the day before he set sail for the last time. (I didn't mean to imply that he owned the ship, but legend has it he was its captain.)

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      7 years ago from The High Seas

      Ahoy Ralph! I'm a Woody Allen fan myself but I'd also like to quote a comment of yours from another hub "My great grandfather's ship, the Apollo, sank on the way from Liverpool to Genoa circa 1850. He was from Smoland in Sweden where he left his wife on the family farm when he went to sea. He was captain of the Apollo when she went down in a North Sea storm." How do we entice you to write that story? Or have you already?

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      7 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Me, too. Woody is a national treasure. He's the most prolific movie writer, director and actor. He's won four Academy Awards.

    • kartika damon profile image

      kartika damon 

      7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

      Really? I have to see this one! Am a big fan of Woody Allen.


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