Many will overlook the film’s message, and see it merely as a superficial look at superficial people.  But Allen—who wrote the script—has a very distinct point of view that he conveys throughout the film.  First, he lives and breathes a world of great wealth.  Even though two of the main characters are artists, for example, money is never an issue, and they live in very expensive homes. Allen never shows us anyone who isn’t wealthy, much less who is struggling.  It’s clear that the mere concept is remote.

His characters also engage in plenty of immorality—without consequence.  They eat, drink (and drink) and make merry, yet no one is ever satisfied.  Even those who have loving marriages aren’t content, leading us to conclude that the human heart will always be fickle.  The answer, therefore, is to follow that “heart,” again and again, even if that results in a total implosion of life and relationships.  Love will—and should—find a way.  Even if it’s not love, but lust.  Otherwise we’ll just be miserable.  And oh, what a tragedy that would be.

Allen ignores, of course, his own onscreen conundrum, which is that whatever love/lust we do find will eventually dissipate, leaving us searching for meaning, yet again.  Essentially, he’s saying that eros will solve the pain of a heart homesick not for passionate sex, but for unconditional, all-abiding love.  And that is a desperately tragic message—even if it is wrapped up in beautiful people and stunning scenery.

DVD EXTRAS:

  • Scenes
  • Trailers

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Characters consume large quantities of wine throughout film.  Several comments are made about decisions made after too much wine.  Several scenes with smoking as well.
  • Language/Profanity:  A few mild profanities and/or obscenities.
  • Sex/Nudity:  Numerous discussions about adult sexual themes, including characters swapping partners; threesomes and dabbling in homosexuality.  No nudity, however, and all sexual situations, save one (which is brief) are offscreen.
  • Violence:  An extended discussion about a wife who stabbed her husband; discussion about a suicide attempt and one scene in which a character threatens others with a gun then shoots someone, injuring them.