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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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have not looked at this movie in over a year, yet it is still so fond to my recollection...that I have to stop here and share my thoughts.
First, this is a genuinely warm film and some of the sunniness of the setting, I think, permeates the mood it creates and the feeling that is left with the viewer. And this is despite the sterility of Ted Boynton's work and the comparable hollowness of his sales "ethos." I know what people say about Whit Stillman's films (ie. that they are peopled with talking heads and not much feeling is generated)....but this is absolutely NOT the case with BARCELONA. In spite of Ted Boynton's pragmatic and brainy approach to life, he is still shown the value of love and life...and learns some of the humility he has been so sorely lacking. It has to do, also, with his consciousness of being a foreigner: he has lowered his expectations to the point where the slightest display of kindness (by Montserrat and her friends) is a revelation to him. I think anyone wanting to work abroad should see this film first!
There is much to admire in here: the crispness of Stillman's dialogue, the excellent performance by Taylor Nichols and his comic, verbally-sparring, exchanges with Chris Eigeman. It teaches us to never lose our wonder and become complacent when becoming established in a foreign country. It offers a lesson to intellectuals and would-be intellectuals everywhere that there is still plenty to be learned where the human heart is concerned. I liked this movie a lot and rate it as Stillman's clearest and most entertaining work to date.
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