To Rome with Love is with love indeed! What an absolute delight. A throwback to the quirky, laugh out loud hilarity of Woody Allen’s older films, To Rome With Love highlights four different, individual stories about life and adventure in Rome. From an American student who falls in love with a dashing young Italian on the outskirts of the Trevi Fountain, to an assortment of sordid love triangles between a newly married couple, an actor, and a prostitute, To Rome With Love offers something for everyone who’s ever been enchanted by love or Bella Roma.
Beginning with a busy, undulating roundabout in central Rome, directed by a flowery traffic guard who “sees everything”, we are shot into the heart of Italy’s capital city and the whirlwind effect it can have on the eyes, heart, and mind. My personal favorite story follows Leopoldo, played by Roberto Benigni, who wakes up one morning to find that he has become the most famous person in Italy, for no real reason. Unexpectedly, this portion, along with one other, are entirely in Italian, which makes it much more loquacious and lyrical. Benigni’s over the top energy and excessive self-expression really work perfectly with Allen’s chatty writing and the immersion in the story line becomes a real joy to watch.
The characters are interesting and well-developed, the story line moves smoothly and seamlessly, even though there are many simultaneous anecdotes crying out to keep your attention, and the casting is perfect. The virtually unknown Fabio Armiliato, who plays a fabulous tenor who can only sing in the shower, and Oscar-winning Penelope Cruz personified as a quick-witted, sultry prostitute are just some of the attractions this film has to offer. Although there could have been more sweeping landscapes and placement shots of Rome, I was dazzled by this film from start to finish. Find a theater showing To Rome With Love near you and strap yourself in for a refreshingly great film.