Vicky Cristina Barcelona
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Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlet Johansson) visit Barcelona for the summer, staying with Vicky's relative Judy (Patricia Clarkson) and her husband Mark (Kevin Dunn). A Narrator (voice of Christopher Evan Welch), present throughout the film, describes the two friends: Vicky is practical and mainstream in her approach to love and commitment, and is engaged to the reliable yet even-more-mainstream Doug (Chris Messina). She is in Barcelona doing research for her masters in Catalan Identity, a project spawned by her love of the works of Gaud and Miro, and is emotionally moved by Spanish guitar. Cristina, on the other hand, is spontaneous and unsure of what she wants in life. She is just out of a relationship and wants to get over the bad time she had making a 12-minute film about love.

At an art exhibition, they notice artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem). Cristina is impressed with him at first sight, and grows intrigued when Judy and Mark tell the girls that he had a violent relationship with his ex-wife, Mara Elena (Penlope Cruz). Later that night, the pair notice him across the room at a restaurant. He and Cristina exchange glances, and he approaches their table, asks Cristina her eye color, and abruptly invites them to accompany him to Oviedo, where they will sight-see, drink wine and, hopefully, make love. While Cristina accepts at once, Vicky is skeptical and refuses. She is eventually convinced, and the pair accompany Juan Antonio to Oviedo in his friend's private plane during a storm.

In Oviedo, after some sight-seeing and a good deal of wine, Juan Antonio invites both women to his bedroom. While Vicky refuses to sleep with him, Cristina agrees, but suddenly falls ill with an ulcer and food poisoning. For the remainder of the weekend, Vicky and Juan Antonio are compelled to sight-see alone. During their jaunts, he tells her about his ex-wife and their passionate yet violent relationship. After more wine over dinner and a guitar concert in a park, Vicky succumbs to Juan's charms and the two make love.

The next day, Juan takes them back to Barcelona. Feeling guilty, Vicky does not confess the incident to Cristina, and the two begin to grow apart, Vicky throwing herself into her research and Cristina experimenting with photography and poetry. Juan Antonio calls Cristina back, and they begin to date. Doug suddenly suggests to Vicky that they get married in Spain in a civil ceremony, assuring her that their blowout wedding will still take place as scheculed in the States. She agrees, with some misgivings, and he flies to Barcelona from New York.

Cristina and Juan Antonio grow closer and Cristina moves in with him. One night, Juan Antonio receives a call that Mara Elena has attempted to kill herself. Since she has nowhere else to go, he brings her home, and she moves into the guest room. Though initially Mara Elena distrusts Cristina, she soon develops a liking for her and encourages her photography, which improves as a result.

Cristina soon realizes that the ex-spouses are still in love, and Mara Elena confides that their relationship was always loving yet unstable because they were missing something, a mystery element neither of them figured out. Mara Elena now suggests that the missing link is in fact Cristina, and the three indulge in a consensual sexual triangle, as Cristina begins making love to Mara Elena as well. Cristina discloses the events of her life to Vicky, who appears secretly jealous of her friend's freedom, and to Doug, who disapproves.

As the summer winds to a close, Vicky realizes that she is unsatisfied in her married life, and is still attracted to Juan Antonio. She spies Judy cheating on myopic Mark, yet understands why Judy can't leave her husband, and confides in the older woman. Judy, who sees Vicky as a younger version of herself, and in a vicariously motivated move, takes it upon herself to "make Vicky and Juan Antonio happen". Meanwhile, Cristina realizes that she can't live in a threesome for the long term, and announces that she's leaving Juan Antonio and Mara Elena. Maria Elena does not take the news well and breaks down. Needing out, Cristina goes to France to spend the last week of her summer. With their "missing link" gone, Juan Antonio and Mara Elena break up once again.

In a final attempt to pair up Juan Antonio and Vicky, Judy arranges for their "chance" meeting at a party. Juan Antonio begs Vicky to to meet him the next day, her last day in Spain. After lying to Doug and against her better judgement, Vicky goes to Juan's home for lunch, after which Juan tries to seduce her again. She is about to succumb when Mara Elena enters with a gun and begins firing wildly. As Juan Antonio takes the gun away from the hysterical Maria, it accidentally fires, shooting Vicky in the wrist. Vicky screams at them both, calling them insane, and insisting that she could never live like this, leaves.

When Cristina returns from France, Vicky confesses the entire story to her, while Doug is never told the true version of events. As the three return to the US, Vicky goes back to her mainstream life and Cristina remains where she began, not knowing what she wants, but knowing what she doesn't want. As Vicky chooses to live her planned, perceived ideal life and Cristina chooses to live with no plans for life, they end where they began.

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