Film: Vicky Christina Barcelona

“Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamoured with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.”



Vicky is the straight laced safe realistic scholarly one who engaged to the right man and about to move into the right house. Christina is the bohemian romantic creative one who knows she does not want a man who is the product of mass production.

Christina is clearly into the painter, but goes down sick with food poisoning before she is seduced. Vicky is inspired by the Spanish artistry and guitar music and eventually falls for the painter and a night of passion whilst Christina is off sick. With Christina well Vicky gets displaced and carries on with her plans and marriage to the safe guy, but with a lot less conviction. Christina becomes a lover to the painter and moves in and starts to develop her photography. In time the psychotic ex-wife of the painter shows up after a suicide attempt and it is clear the painter and his ex-wife have a constructive/destructive love-hate dynamic and are a source of each others artistic inspiration. Christina’s photography is nurtured by the other two artists especially the ex-wife.  In time this creative triad becomes a threesome of lovers with Christina acting as a balancing force to the aggressive dynamics between the painter and his ex-wife.

In time Christina’s Bohemian wanderlust returns and she decides she has to move on to the South of France to clear her head for a while. Vicky, now a new bride, almost gets seduced by a classmate who had picked up on her doubts about marriage to a safe guy now she has tasted that night of passion with the painter. At a party she accidently catches the wife of her hosts in Spain having a kiss and a cuddle with the brother of her own husband. The humiliation of being caught leads to a confession from the older woman to Vicky that she loved her husband, but was not in love with him. She was trapped in a safe passionless marriage because she was too scared of hurting people and of being hurt to have a full blown affair, or to leave him and find something new. The two women realise they are both in the same boat and the older one decides to set Vicky up with the now free again Painter. To live her life by proxy. A ploy that almost works until the painters ex-wife reappears with a gun at which point Vicky flees in terror back to the safety of her marriage and planned future.

The film ends with both passionless wives retreating to the safety of their passionless marriages and terminally shelving their ideas of exciting lives and loves. Christina is much the same as before and ready to go on her next adventure in search of herself and her needs.

What I saw

I was horrified really by the older 50-60s couple that hosted the two girls. She was bored, timid and flirting for cheap thrills. He was bored, overweight and alleviating himself in golf and food. Is that the type of man that I became in marriage and my earlier long-term relationships? The safe guy whose only solace is comfort eating rather than vice. Have I in fact gone in my “passionless” relationship from coping as him to coping as her from the solace of food to flirting for cheap thrills?  In both cases too good boy and timid to actually address the issues head first?

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