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To Rome with Love: Amada mia, amore mio

Walking into the theatre with my mom, I felt giddy…we were going to Rome courtesy of Woody Allen’s new movie To Rome with Love.

Some of my all time favorite shows are set in Roma! Roman Holiday , Three Coins in the Fountain The Talented Mr. Ripley and the musical, The Light in the Piazza. Rome is a beautiful canvas for a movie or play.

I loved Midnight in Paris and was hoping To Rome with Love would have the same charm that Midnight in Paris had. The bar was set so high (and so were my expectations) with Midnight in Paris being such a dream movie. To Rome with Love was lovely, but Midnight in Paris has my heart. The cities speak for themselves…Paris has the romance and culture, Rome has passion and fantasy!

Watching Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love was like looking at a rainbow, each character is represented in a unique vibrant shade of color. The characters have in common that they are each experiencing a life-changing adventure, and that they all seize the moment. There are thirteen major characters, and each one carries baggage.

The movie opens and closes with narration by a good looking Roman traffic cop whose moves are choreographed to the music of the city. This is perfect because Rome’s traffic is a lot like love…it’s a mess.

Woody Allen, seventy-six, tends to cast actors who can be neurotic. In To Rome with Love there was a theme of the women characters being labeled as either a Madonna or a prostitute and many of the male characters are aging and trying to remain current…perhaps like Woody!

Woody Allen is the best European tour guide! My favorite Woody films are set in Europe: Match Point (England), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Spain), Mighty Aphrodite (Greece), Midnight in Paris (France), To Rome with Love (Italy)…I can only hope he will stay in Europe for a bit longer to explore the romance of Vienna next.

The beautiful Italian actress Alessandra Mastronardi (Milly) lost in Rome
The rainbow cast of characters include: Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi) and Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi), newlyweds who stumble upon different partners when they are separated for the day. Milly is lost and accidently drops her cell phone through the street grates and decides to have her own adventure and not worry about her husband whom she thinks is waiting for her. Like many of the characters in the movie, she is living and loving in Rome without rules.

Hayley (Alison Pill) and Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti) meet and quickly fall in love. Hayley’s parents Jerry(Woody Allen) and Phyllis (Judy Davis) fly to Rome to meet her Italian fiancée. Jerry (a retired opera director) hears Michelangelo’s father, Giancarlo, singing in the shower. This inspires Jerry to revive his own career.

Fabio Armiliato (Giancarlo) the Italian mortician/shower opera singer

I remember seeing an interview about Woody Allen and he said he writes his ideas on little scraps of paper that he keeps by his bed. I thought that the opera shower singer character seemed like one of those ideas he just pulled from his scrap collection and made it fit. Giancarlo (Fabio Armiliato) sings well but only in the shower. Jerry is successful at getting Giancarlo on stage and the results are odd, surprising and awkward…it’s très Woody!

Judy Davis and Woody Allen (Phyllis and Jerry)
John (Alec Baldwin) is a well-known architect who is reminiscing about his youth when he lived in Rome. He meets a young Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) whom he sees himself thirty years earlier. Jesse gets caught in a love triangle with Monica (Ellen Page) and Sally (Greta Gerwig).  John is one of Woody’s odd characters that sometimes seems invisible and councils Jack through his love triangle.  

Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg (John and Jack)
Leopoldo Pisanello (Roberto Benigni) is a family man office worker who finds himself at the center of media attention for no reason. Reporters want to know if he wears boxers or briefs and how he likes his toast.

The suddenly popular Roberto Benigni (Leopoldo) running from the press
 My favorite character is Anna (Penelope Cruz) who mistakenly shows up after Milly leaves to get her hair done and says, “I am here to fulfill your dreams.” Antonio tries to pass her off as his wife to meet his conservative family and it is hysterical.

Penelope Cruz (Anna) plays an Italian prostitute. When a museum visitor asks: "Can you imagine working all that time on your back?" Anna responds: "I can."
Woody Allen makes you feel like you’ve just had your passport stamped and have been somewhere you want to go again and with people you want to meet again. 

My husband Derek and I visiting one of To Rome with Love scenes (the Spanish Steps) Roma!

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