Vicky Cristina Barcelona

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Vicky Cristina Barcelona film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWoody Allen
Written byWoody Allen
Produced by
CinematographyJavier Aguirresarobe
Edited byAlisa Lepselter
Distributed by
Release dates
  • May 17, 2008 (2008-05-17) (Cannes Film Festival)
  • August 15, 2008 (2008-08-15) (United States)
  • September 19, 2008 (2008-09-19) (Spain)
Running time
97 minutes
  • Spain
  • United States
  • English
  • Spanish
Budget$15 million[2]
Box office$96.4 million[1]

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a 2008 romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. The film stars Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson in lead roles. The plot centers on two American women, Vicky and Cristina, who spend a summer in Barcelona, where they meet an artist, Juan Antonio, who is attracted to both of them, while still enamored of his mentally and emotionally unstable ex-wife María Elena. The film was shot in Spain in Barcelona, Avilés, and Oviedo, and was Allen's fourth consecutive film shot outside the United States.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, and then received a rolling worldwide general release that started on August 15, 2008, in the United States, and continued in various countries until its June 2009 release in Japan. The film emerged as a commercial success at the box office, becoming one of Allen's highest-grossing films. It received widespread critical acclaim upon release, with particular praise directed towards Cruz's performance.

At the 66th Golden Globe Awards, Vicky Cristina Barcelona received 4 nominations, including Best Actor – Musical or Comedy (Bardem), Best Actress – Musical or Comedy (Hall) and Best Supporting Actress (Cruz), and won Best Film – Musical or Comedy. Cruz also won both the Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress, in addition to a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination in the same category.


Vicky and Cristina visit Barcelona for the summer, staying with Vicky's distant relative Judy and her husband Mark. While the two are great friends, Vicky is practical and traditional in her approach to love and commitment and is engaged to the reliable Doug, whereas Cristina imagines herself to be a nonconformist, spontaneous but unsure of what she wants from life or love.

At an art exhibition, Cristina is intrigued by artist Juan Antonio, who Judy says has suffered a violent relationship with his ex-wife. Later, he brazenly approaches Vicky and Cristina to invite them to join him right away for the weekend in the city of Oviedo, in a small plane he flies himself, for sight-seeing, fine eating and drinking, and hopefully, lovemaking. Cristina is won over by the offer almost at once, but Vicky is unimpressed and reluctant; she, however, eventually decides to accompany her friend anyway, mainly to watch over her.

At the end of their first day, Vicky refuses to join Juan Antonio in his hotel room, citing her fidelity to Doug, but Cristina accepts his invitation immediately. Before the lovemaking starts, Cristina suddenly falls ill with digestive complaints, and is put to bed, with food poisoning. Vicky and Juan Antonio proceed to spend the weekend together alone while they wait for Cristina to recuperate. Vicky gradually changes her opinion of Juan Antonio as he tells her about his tumultuous relationship with his former wife, María Elena. Vicky accompanies him to visit his father, an old poet, and then becomes deeply moved by a Spanish guitar performance later that evening. She finally succumbs to Juan Antonio's advances as they walk through a grove of trees in the dark. The next day, with Cristina recovered, the three of them fly back to Barcelona.

Feeling guilty, Vicky does not mention the incident to Cristina, and the two begin to grow apart. Vicky starts throwing herself into her studies while Cristina and Juan Antonio take up a relationship. Cristina then moves in with Juan Antonio and begins to discover more about his past. After learning that María Elena attempted to kill herself, Juan Antonio takes her to his home, where Cristina already lives. After some defiance, the two women grow fond of each other. Cristina realizes that the ex-spouses are still in love, and María Elena suggests that Cristina may be the element that can give balance and stability to their relationship. All three become romantically involved with one another.

In the meantime, Vicky is joined in Spain by an enthusiastic Doug and the two get married. When Cristina describes her new life with Juan Antonio to Vicky, Vicky becomes secretly jealous, and after a few other awkward moments, she realizes she is unsatisfied in her married life and is still attracted to Juan Antonio. Learning that Judy is similarly unhappy in her marriage, she confides to her, and Judy, who sees her younger self in Vicky, decides to bring Juan Antonio and Vicky together. Meanwhile, Cristina becomes restless and at some point decides to leave Juan Antonio and María Elena; without her, their relationship quickly falls apart again.

As the summer winds to a close, Judy arranges for Juan Antonio and Vicky to meet at a party. Juan Antonio begs Vicky to meet him again privately before leaving Spain, which she finally accepts, lying to Doug in the process. At his home, Juan Antonio seduces and wins Vicky over again, but they are interrupted by María Elena who bursts in with a gun, firing wildly as Juan Antonio tries to calm her. Vicky gets shot in the hand in the process, and leaves, shouting they are insane and she could never live like this. She confesses the entire story to Cristina, who never realized how Vicky felt about Juan Antonio, and wishes she could have helped her. Doug, Vicky and Cristina return to the United States; Doug never learns what truly happened, Vicky goes back to her married life, and Cristina is back where she started, still unsure of what she wants from life or love.


Spanish actor Joan Pera, who dubbed Allen's voice in the Spanish-language versions of his previous films, makes a cameo appearance.[3]


In 2007, controversy arose in Catalonia over the public funding granted to the film, as the high-profile film was presumed not to have needed it; Barcelona's city hall provided one million euro and the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) half a million, or ten percent of the film's budget.[2]

This was the third time Allen and Johansson had worked together, following Match Point (2005) and Scoop (2006). This also marked the second time Hall and Johansson had worked together, the first time being in The Prestige (2006).

The film featured several paintings by Catalan artist Agustí Puig and included several examples of the work of architect Antoni Gaudí, including his Park Güell.


Box office[edit]

As of July 2009, the film grossed $96 million worldwide; in relation to its $15 million budget,[2] it is one of Allen's most profitable films.[4]

Critical response[edit]

Vicky Cristina Barcelona garnered the best reviews Allen received since his Academy Award-nominated psychological thriller Match Point (also starring Johansson) (2005), particularly for Cruz's performance. The film has an approval rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 212 reviews, with an average score of 6.90/10. The site's consensus reads: "A beguiling tragicomedy, Vicky Cristina Barcelona charms with beautiful views of the Spanish city and a marvelously well-matched cast".[5] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 70 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[6]

Scott Tobias wrote in The A.V. Club that it was "a witty and ambiguous film that's simultaneously intoxicating and suffused with sadness and doubt."[7] Richard Roeper suggested that Cruz should receive an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the film.[8] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle praised the film as "the work of a confident and mature artist", referring to Allen.[9] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote "Although Vicky Cristina Barcelona trips along winningly, carried by the beauty of its locations and stars — and all the gauzy romanticism those enchanted places and people imply — it reverberates with implacable melancholy, a sense of loss."[10] Richard Corliss ended his review of the film with "Vicky Cristina Barcelona has neither the sardonic heft of Max Ophüls's La Ronde (1950) nor the emotional precision of Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), two films that also dance the change-partners gavotte. But the film is so engaging so much of the time that it feels like a modest rejuvenation: evidence that a summer in Spain can do wonders for a writer-director who may not have outlived his prime."[11] S. Williams of Momzone magazine singled out Johansson's performance for praise, writing, "Johansson's acting is syrup: fluid and sweet."[12] Ian Freer of Empire gave the film 4 out of 5, and wrote "within Allen's recent output, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a highlight. See it for beautiful locales, an ambivalent look at human relationships and a clutch of great performances, particularly from Cruz."[13]


The film appeared on many critics' top-ten lists of the best films of 2008 including;[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2008 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress Penélope Cruz Won [15]
2008 Golden Globe Awards Best Film – Musical or Comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona Won [16]
Best Actor – Musical or Comedy Javier Bardem Nominated
Best Actress – Musical or Comedy Rebecca Hall Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated
2008 British Academy Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Won [17]
2008 Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated [18]
2008 Writers Guild of America Awards Best Original Screenplay Woody Allen Nominated [19]
2008 Independent Spirit Awards Best Actor Javier Bardem Nominated [20]
Best Supporting Actress Penélope Cruz Won
Best Screenplay Woody Allen Won
2009 Gaudí Awards Best Film in Non-Catalan Language Vicky Cristina Barcelona Won [21]
Best Actor Javier Bardem Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Penélope Cruz Won
Best Musical Score Giulia y Los Tellarini Won
Best Cinematography Javier Aguirresarobe Nominated
Best Sound Peter Glossop, David Wahnson & Shaun Mills Nominated
2009 Golden Eagle Award Best Foreign Language Film Vicky Cristina Barcelona Nominated [22]
2008 Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Rebecca Hall & Scarlett Johansson Won [23]
Breakthrough Performer Rebecca Hall Nominated
2008 Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Comedy Film Vicky Cristina Barcelona Nominated [24]
Best Supporting Actress Penelope Cruz Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Vicky Cristina Barcelona". Box Office Mojo. 2009-02-19. Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  2. ^ a b c "Allen film funding angers Spanish". BBC News Online. 2007-07-30. Archived from the original on 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2007-07-31.
  3. ^ (2007-04-12). Woody Allen rewards Spanish alter ego with role in new film Archived 2008-12-05 at the Wayback Machine. The Times. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
  4. ^ Vicky Cristina Barcelona at Box Office Mojo
  5. ^ "Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on March 4, 2009. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  6. ^ "Vicky Cristina Barcelona". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2020-10-02. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  7. ^ "Vicky Cristina Barcelona". Onion AV Club. Archived from the original on August 16, 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2008.
  8. ^ "Ebert & Roeper - Vicky Cristina Barcelona". Buena Vista TV. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2008.
  9. ^ Mick LaSalle (August 15, 2008). "Movie review: 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  10. ^ The Portrait of Two Ladies Archived 2012-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, a review from The New York Times August 15, 2008
  11. ^ Woody Allen's Barcelona Summer of Love. Time. August 15, 2008.
  12. ^ "Is 2014 Going to be the Best Year in Movie History". Archived from the original on 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
  13. ^ Vicky Cristina Barcelona Archived 2013-10-23 at the Wayback Machine by Ian Freer of Empire
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Film Critic Top Ten Lists: 2008 Critics' Picks". Metacritic. Archived from the original on August 2, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  15. ^ "The 81st Academy Awards | 2009". | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 2018-04-17. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  16. ^ "Winners & Nominees 2009". Archived from the original on 2019-04-10. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  17. ^ "Film in 2009 | BAFTA Awards". Archived from the original on 2021-06-23. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  18. ^ "The 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards | Screen Actors Guild Awards". Archived from the original on 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  19. ^ "2009 WRITERS GUILD AWARDS SCREEN NOMINEES ANNOUNCED | Press Room". Writers Guild of America, East. 2009-01-07. Archived from the original on 2021-05-02. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  20. ^ "Film Independent Spirit Awards (2009)". IMDb. Archived from the original on 2020-11-29. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  21. ^ "I Premis Gaudí". Archived from the original on 2021-04-15. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  22. ^ "Номинанты и лауреаты премии Национальной Академии кинематографических искусств и наук России "Золотой Орёл" за 2009 год". РУСКИНО - Российское кино, актеры, фильмы, сериалы, новости, статьи, рецензии, интервью, премьеры, фестивали (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2021-05-05. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  23. ^ "Gotham Awards (2008)". IMDb. Archived from the original on 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  24. ^ "Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (2009)". IMDb. Archived from the original on 2021-07-06. Retrieved 2021-05-02.

External links[edit]