Ovbiously, set in Rome, To Rome With Love follows several plot lines that flow over each other and could easily be separate films.
There’s the opera plot, with Woody Allen and Judy Davis playing parents to Hayley (Alison Pill), a visiting American student who falls in love and becomes engaged to a very handsome Italian. Allen’s character discovers a talent in Hayley’s soon-to-be father-in-law that, I recall, was a plot from the Brady Bunch back in the seventies. This plotline was ridiculous and drove me nuts, but luckily I felt the rest of the film made up for it.
There’s the mysterious character plot, which covers architect Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) having to entertain his girlfriend’s best friend Monica (Ellen Page) who is visiting. Jack’s girlfriend is studying and has exams, so leaves the two of them alone despite the number of men who have fallen in love with Monica over the years. Alec Baldwin plays the mysterious character of John, a highly successful architect who is hanging around like an imaginary friend to Jack, pointing out how pretentious Monica is, and how inevitable the story is. Despite the fact that I have no inclination to assess and interpret this character, I liked this plotline.
Then there’s the newlyweds who are planning to move to Rome for the husband to work for his family, but through a series of misunderstandings, he ends up taking a prostitute around with his sombre relatives and she ends up in the hotel room of a famous actor.
And finally, Roberto Benigni, ah, the wonderful Roberto Benigni, who plays an average office worked who suddenly has extreme fame thrust upon him for no reason. Too wonderful, and delightful, and fabulous.
I quite like short stories, and this film was just like a collection of little short stories. It’s not a big, important piece of work. It’s just delightful, and what a beautiful and amazing setting. I’ve not yet been to Rome. Now, I really, really want to.