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YMMV / Vicky Cristina Barcelona

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • The narrative - and Vicky herself - views Maria Elena and Juan Antonio's relationship as mutually toxic. But really Maria Elena is a straight-up abuser; she uses her suicide attempt as an excuse to claw her way back into Juan Antonio's life, attributes all of his success as an artist to her, resorts to emotional blackmail when Cristina ends things and tries to shoot Juan Antonio.
    • Vicky could be someone who just pretends to be more responsible and structured than Cristina - but secretly longs to be able to cut loose. One has to wonder how her marriage with Doug will endure if she keeps suppressing that side of herself.
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    • As noted on the main page, Cristina's photography skills are a bit of an Informed Ability. Maybe Maria Elena is just indulging her to win her into her good books?
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: This is that movie where Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz make out, right?
  • Couple Bomb: Subverted. Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem dated and eventually married, but the film was a $96 million hit and got Penelope an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Maria Elena doesn't appear until nearly an hour into the movie, and has forty-one minutes of screen time. Yet Penelope Cruz got the film's only Oscar nomination and won.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall had previously starred in The Prestige as romantic rivals to the same man.
    • Penelope Cruz pretty much plays the exact same character in Nine one year later. And Javier Bardem was even going to play the lead in that too! She would also be the only actor in the film to get an Oscar nomination.
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  • Jerkass Woobie: Despite being a horrible emotional (and sometimes physical) abuser, Maria Elena does struggle with numerous suicide attempts and Penelope Cruz imbues her with so much sincere emotion that you do feel sorry for her.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Some watch the movie just for the cinematography showing off the Spanish landscape. It was all filmed on location too.
  • Narm: Some of the overly long and flowery words can get a bit silly after a while - especially when a character like Cristina is saying them. It brings to mind the episode of Friends where Joey uses a thesaurus to make every word sound 'smart'.
  • She Really Can Act: Scarlett Johansson was singled out among a lot of critical praises of the film - as she had mostly been starring in teen movies, comedies and rarely-seen indie dramas.
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  • Stoic Woobie: Considering Juan Antonio has been a victim of emotional (and sometimes physical) abuse from his ex-wife, it's impressive how stoic he is most of the time.
  • Testosterone Brigade: Featuring the beautiful ladies Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Penelope Cruz - two of whom briefly get together - and set in a hot climate like Spain, allowing the actresses to wear not very much.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Vicky comes across as unnecessarily judgmental when it comes to other people's lives - especially with Cristina. She's particularly horrible to Juan Antonio, telling him he probably deserved it when his wife stabbed him. And she continues the victim blaming when Maria Elena tries to shoot him! She also freely cheats on Doug - first with Juan Antonio and later emotionally with a man in her class.
  • The Woobie: Cristina when you think about it. Unlike her more structured friend, she has no idea what she wants out of life. And she's fully aware of it - so most of what she does is out of a desire to feel anything.


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