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Barcelona (1994)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 29 July 1994 (USA)
Ted, a stuffy white guy from Illinois working in sales for the Barcelona office of a US corporation, is paid an unexpected visit by his somewhat less stuffy cousin Fred, who is an officer ... See full summary »

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Montserrat Raventos
...
Marta Ferrer
Pep Munné ...
Ramone
Hellena Taylor ...
Greta (as Hellena Schmied)
Núria Badia ...
Aurora Boval
...
Dickie Taylor
Jack Gilpin ...
The Consul
Pere Ponce ...
Young Doctor
Laura López ...
Nuria - Ted's Assistant
Francis Creighton ...
Frank Robinson
Edmon Roch ...
Javier
Diana Sassen ...
Woman - 'Shootings in America'
Àngels Bassas ...
Woman - 'Jazz'
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Storyline

Ted, a stuffy white guy from Illinois working in sales for the Barcelona office of a US corporation, is paid an unexpected visit by his somewhat less stuffy cousin Fred, who is an officer in the US Navy. Over the next few months, both their lives are irrevocably altered by the events which follow Fred's arrival, events which are the trivial stuff of a comedy of manners at first but which gradually grow increasingly dramatic. Written by Tim Horrigan <horrigan@hanover-crrel.army.mil>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Americans. Anti Americans. In Love

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for drug content and a brief sex scene | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 July 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Барселона  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$7,266,973 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stanley Kubrick greatly admired this film, calling it "a new way to have talk advance the narrative." He was especially impressed with Thomas Gibson, and cast him in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) without an audition on the basis of his performance here. See more »

Goofs

When Fred and Ted are driving through Barcelona early in the film, Ted's driving barely matches the direction the car is moving. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ted Boynton: [voice-over] I couldn't believe Fred would just show up like that. On the other hand, it was absolutely typical.
See more »

Connections

References The American Friend (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Quiereme Siempre
(Love Me Forever)
Written by G. Lynes and B. Guthrie
Spanish lyrics by Ben Molar
Performed by Los Cinco Latinos
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great characters, great scenery, great lines
21 November 2002 | by (Bill Slocum) – See all my reviews

There are people in this world who think "Barcelona" is just a film about soft-living, navel-gazing preppies with perfect hair and term-paper vocabularies. These are the same people who like Vinyl Hampton music.

What's not to love about this sensitive, off-kilter love story about a young, too-earnest salesman Ted and his sly, disruptive Ugly American cousin-with-issues Fred? Nothing. The film grabs you from their first bickering exchange in Ted's apartment building, and never lets go, not because of fast-paced editing or shiny visuals (though the film doesn't drag and Barcelona at night is a wonder) but because of the clever dialogue. Whit Stillman makes films for people who love to read, yet they are not stilted exercises in "Masterpiece Theater"-style draftsmanship but laugh-out-loud exchanges of opinion between engaging people who just happen to see the world in sometimes very/ sometimes slightly different ways. It's like "Friends" if that cast suddenly grew brains. Give this movie five minutes, and it will suck you in like a vacuum.

Ultimately, what grabs me is how the film is so chock full of life, of people who haven't got much of a clue about life winging it and hazarding the consequences. I remember those days. Ted pledges to date "only plain or even homely women" because he thinks beauty obscures the true essence of love. Fred tells people his cousin is into the Marquis de Sade and leather underwear because he thinks it makes Ted more interesting to the ladies than the Bible-reading goody-goody Ted really is.

Actually, Fred may be on to something. It seems to help Ted in meeting his dream woman Montserrat. Ted and Montserrat are an odd couple. He wrestles earnestly with his religion and believes in salesmanship as a means of understanding life, while she is a free-living, free-loving Spaniard who thinks leaving her native land for America will condemn her future children to a life of hamburger-eating zombiedom.

I was in Barcelona in 1981 myself and saw first-hand how beautiful and magical the place truly is. I also saw the anti-Americanism and anti-"OTAN"ism prevalent there. Stillman isn't overselling the negative attitudes many in Spain and throughout Europe had of the United States during those critical days of the Cold War. It's a good thing they got that out of their system, huh? The movie could have been heavy-handed in this way, but never allows itself to be, not with all those funny ant analogies. Ramon, the left-wing writer who fingers Fred for being a member of the CIA (or the AFL-CIA, as Ramon is convinced the labor union and the intelligence agency are somehow connected), is not stupid or mean, but just like Ted and Fred, a little too caught up in his own ideas of how things are, or as Ted puts it in a moment of truth at the hospital, another person given to filtering reality through his own colossal egotism.

Whit Stillman seems to be averaging two films a decade now, and it's a shame. He and Chris Eigeman need to make more movies together. I never get tired of Eigeman's snarky charm, or Stillman's ability to create films equally rich in one-liners and in context. "Barcelona" was the finest of Stillman's three efforts, with the best story and backdrop, but the earlier "Metropolitan" was not far behind. "Last Days of Disco," the most recent Stillman film, wasn't as good as the first two, but is engaging and absorbing enough on its own terms. If you haven't seen any of them, start with this one.

[The DVD contains several interesting deleted scenes and an alternative ending which might have made the film a bit darker but wouldn't have disrupted anything essential. Still, it's hard to argue with an ending that has Montserrat bite into an authentic American hamburger and pronounce it "incredible." At least unless you're a vegetarian, in which case Fred would probably say that's your problem.]


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