Whit Stillman followed his indie breakthrough Metropolitan with another clever, if darker, comedy. A pair of preppy yet constitutionally mismatched American cousins—a salesman and a navy officer—argue about romance and politics while working in the beautiful Spanish city of the film’s title.
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Somehow Whit Stillman got me to actually care about the two most annoying fuckers in Metropolitan in this movie. Even if these are over thinking, entitled white people they do have a lot of heart here and watching them navigate their way through this movie is quite entertaining. Also Mira Sorvino is good in this too.
Neurotic, self-referential first-person narration, in the grand tradition of dialogue-driven white American auteurs (you know the type), with nods to The Graduate and with the contrived awkwardness of Woody Allen, but with neither the style nor the wit to really keep up... Not that charming, not that pretty, not that meaningful, but fine... Neither worse nor better than a 3.
Something is not working here. I liked Damsels in Distress and loved The Last Days of Disco but I almost slept during Barcelona. Why? Maybe because the two main Spanish characters were played by a British and an American actress or maybe because the director didn't mix drama and comedy with enough care here. Already forgotten, alas.
A kind of Woody Allen by way of Louis Auchincloss -- or vice versa, really -- and with a sensibility that anticipated, while being more earnest and polemical than, Wes Anderson's, Whit Stillman may be the only filmmaker who has rendered apologias for moneyed privilege and American power that even blinkered lefties like myself can't help but almost love. The subtext can be irritating, but the text is all pleasure.
Definitely one of the weaker of Stillman's movies, but he's never managed to make one that's not at least somewhat charming. I think Chris Eigeman is one of the best screen stars of the'90s. Even if he's no actor, he delivers Stillman's lines in a way that makes him inexplicably alluring.
Woman: You can't say Americans are not more violent than other people.
Woman: All those people killed in shootings in America?
Fred: Oh, shootings, yes. But that doesn't mean Americans are more violent than other people. We're just better shots.