Friday, April 20, 2012

Movie – Room in Rome (2010)

Room in Rome is an intriguing story of one night in the lives of two women who have just met.  It is based on the 2005 Chilean film En la cama, but it is really a same-sex version of Before Sunrise (1995), albeit one that is more sensual.  The film received four Goya Award nominations (the “Spanish Oscars”) for Best Actress (Elena Anaya), Best New Actress (Natasha Yarovenko), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Song (the wonderful “Loving Strangers”).  I had this film in my Netflix Instant queue for months, but never got around to seeing it.  I figured it was some quickie, softcore film.  When I finally watched it about a month ago I found out that I had been very wrong. 

The entire film takes place in a single hotel room overlooking a square in Rome (hence the title).  The film opens with a view from the balcony of the room.  We see two women walking along the street towards us.  They are talking.  It’s obvious that they’ve just met that night and that they already have a connection.  One of them is very nervous, though, and says she has to get to her hotel because she has to fly home in the morning.  After a while the other finally convinces her to come up to her room with her.

[By the way, despite the setting and the actresses, the film is primarily in English, with small amounts of Spanish, Russian, Italian, and Basque.  It makes sense because English is the common language that the two of them share.]

When they come in, it’s obvious that both have been flirting with each other.  Alba (Anaya) is Spanish, while “Natasha” (Yarovenko) is Russian.  It is the last night in Rome for both of them.  Tomorrow they travel back to their own countries on the opposite ends of Europe.  Alba is confident and has obviously picked up a woman before.  She tells the hesitant Natasha, “We met in a bar.  We exchanged looks.  We were attracted to each other.  We made a connection.  Isn’t this how it works?” 

Natasha tries to tell her “I’m not a…”, but she can’t finish.  She finally says to Alba, “It’s the first time in my life I look like this at a woman.  Never before a woman looked at me this way.”  She then continues, a little accusingly, “It’s not the first time you look at a woman like this.”  It is the first day of summer, so Alba points out to Natasha that this is the shortest night of the year, and it is the last night in Rome for both of them, so they had better make the most of it.  Natasha finally decides to stay, but is ultimately too nervous to do anything more than kiss.  Alba just holds her.  After a few minutes, Alba is asleep.  Natasha changes her mind (or does she?) and leaves.

Alba is woken up by a ringing phone.  It’s not hers, though.  It’s Natasha’s phone and she returns to get it.  Did Natasha really forget it, did she subconsciously leave it there because she wanted to return, or did she purposely leave it there so she had an excuse to return?  This time Alba really turns on the charm.  She very boldly answers Natasha’s knock while still nude, daring Natasha to ignore her attraction to her.  Natasha won’t come in to get the phone, so Alba stays in the doorway even when a hotel waiter comes down the hall.  Natasha finally has no choice, and goes back in the room with Alba.

This time Alba and Natasha start to talk instead of just falling into bed.  They open up a little about themselves, although we find out that “Natasha” told a few small lies, including what her name is.  As the film goes on, we discover that both had good reasons for being in the bar, and that those reasons resulted in what might be an unlikely pairing – “two ships passing in the night”.  Is it fate that has brought the two of them together in one of the most passionate and romantic cities in the world?

The two of them finally make love.  Almost right afterwards, though, Natasha starts worrying about it.  She asks Alba to keep this within the four walls.  Alba agrees.  Natasha then also asks Alba to promise her this will not change her life.  Alba says she can’t do that.  They start swapping stories about their lives.  Again, we start to learn more about each of the women.  As we do, they become far more than two generic women; they become real people.  They end up spending the entire night together, talking, laughing, singing, discussing art, and making love a couple more times.  By the morning, they have such a connection that they (and we) wonder what they are going to do now.

All of the interactions between the women felt quite real – the stories they shared, their reactions to them, the growing feelings for each other, etc.  There are three sex scenes in the film, but anyone watching this movie hoping to see porn will be severely disappointed.  Instead, the actual sex scenes are quite short, and are the only things in the film that didn’t feel real to me.  It felt a little bit like the director was getting the sex scenes out of the way.  The film is much more about sensuality than it is about sexuality, so the focus isn't on the sex anyway.  

Music plays a small, but important part in the movie.  I already mentioned the song “Loving Strangers” received an award nomination.  It plays several times during the film.  At first I thought it was just because it was about the only song the filmmakers had the rights to, but then I realized that it was appearing at points in the movie where the women’s relationship had subtly changed.  The song, though the same, took on slightly different meanings each time.  “Loving” went from meaning sex, to meaning intimacy, to meaning romantic love.  What starts as a one night stand, becomes so much more.

A classic Italian song – Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (aka Volare) – is used in my favorite scene in the movie.  Natasha is singing it in the shower and Alba can’t resist joining her.

Speaking of the shower, some people have commented on the amount of nudity in the film.  Considering the topic and events, it really doesn’t seem out of place to me.  I’m always laughing at films where they show a sex scene and then the couple get out of bed and they are already wearing underwear, or they carefully sit on the bed and pull underwear on before standing up, or the woman very carefully tucks the sheet up under her armpits, or any other silly things that never happen in real life, but only when the actors and actresses don’t want to show nudity. 

This film is refreshing in its approach.  The nudity is just there.  Sometimes one or both might put on a robe for a while, but it may or may not be tied tight.  Sometimes the sheet covers one or both, but sometimes it doesn’t.  When they get out of bed they don’t set speed records to get back into their dresses.  They are just very comfortable with each other and it creates a great sense of intimacy between the two.

Elena Anaya is obviously quite comfortable with her body.  She recently appeared in the film The Skin I Live In (2011).  I have not seen Natasha Yarovenko before, but she seemed quite comfortable as well.  I do have to say that both women are stunning (especially Anaya).  Anyone who thinks lesbians are not supposed to be beautiful will hate this film.

In fact, if you’re the kind of person who asks, “Did they have to show nudity in that scene?” then this is definitely not the film for you.  While there are a few sex scenes, they are not really that graphic.  There is a lot of sensuality, such as a finger lightly run down a back, a kiss on a neck, hair gently brushed aside, etc.  If these things would make you uncomfortable then you should probably skip this movie.  For everyone else, especially fans of Before Sunrise, this film is highly recommended.

Chip’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

           DVD                      Blu-ray

18 comments:

  1. I have this film on my DVR hard drive for about a year now. I'll try and see it in June probably since there's a lot of films that I want to watch for the next month and a half.

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  2. @thevoid99 - If you think of it, please come back and let me know your opinion. Thanks.

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  3. Hello!
    In this movie Natasha/Dasha is singin a russian song in front of the television. Later on he neighbour is complaining over the sound.
    Do you know the name of the song she is singing? Please contact me if you have any idea!

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    1. I don't know the song specifically, but it's been a while since I saw this film. Here is a link to the soundtrack listing at IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1263750/soundtrack

      I don't see anything that specifically appears to be a Russian song, but two of them were performed by a band named "Russsian Red". Perhaps the titles will ring a bell with you. If not, you can try asking this question on the message board for the film.

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  4. Hi, i completely agree with you about the movie. Its an amazing sensual story and how two strangers can spend such nice time together. I simply loved it......

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    1. I agree. I think some people discount it because of the subject matter. They are missing out. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I am just writing this comment while finishing this movie (credits running), sensational. Indeed thought is kind of softcore but amazed with a way the movie moves.

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    1. I agree that this movie is much more than it appears it might be at first. I'm glad you enjoyed it, too. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  6. To the Anonymous poster who asked about the ending:

    My apologies for deleting your comment, but the way the question was asked is a spoiler for anyone reading the post and comments that has not seen the film. I cannot edit comments or I would simply have placed a spoiler warning above your question. I'm fine with questions like this as long as people who want to avoid spoilers for a film have a heads up to avoid them.

    Now, in regards to your question:

    SPOILER WARNING

    I think the ending can be interpreted two ways. I choose the happy one, where they decide to explore their new relationship together. The bittersweet interpretation is that when she runs back she is just showing Alba her legs. There was some dialogue earlier in the film where Alba said she'd like to see Natasha's legs when she is running. So when she does run back to Alba and yells "Look!" you can interpret it as Natasha is just doing one more nice thing for Alba before they go their separate ways.

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  7. Yes I remember alba talking about her legs in the film I am like you I pefer the happy ending. and I thought It was a pretty good movie and the acting was good between them also like the music used in the film And thought the first sex scene was pretty good it did look like Natasha really got off. Do you know any more movies similar to to this one.

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    1. Well, it was based on En la cama (2005), but I have not seen that so I do not know how close the two are. I do know that En la cama is a male/female pairing.

      I feel that Before Sunrise is a pretty close version of this kind of story where two strangers spend a memorable night together. That is all talking, no sex, though.

      If you are asking about other female/female movies then this review was part of my Girl Meets Girl category. Just click on that label at the end of the review and you will see the other films I reviewed. None of them are as sensual as this film, though, if that was what you were asking about. There is a scene in Bound that is pretty hot.

      If you are looking for female/female films in general then my parent post (the last one you will come to in that category) lists quite a few, along with the genre they fit into. From those you may find ones that I didn't review that sound interesting to you.

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  8. Does anyone know what song Natashas ringtone is? Need to know please! Thanks

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    1. I'm afraid I don't know, and I don't know if that would even be listed on the film's soundtrack, either. You can find the soundtrack info here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1263750/soundtrack

      In theory, if it was a real song they would have had to list it in the film's closing credits. I played the credits and they actually list fewer songs than the soundtrack link above. Nothing popped out by the title as being the ringtone.

      As a final resort, I turned on the subtitles to see if when the phone rang they listed the name of the song, but nothing appeared on screen.

      Sorry.

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    2. Thanks mate XD!!

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  9. can you pls provide me a link where it's being played in english or with english subtitle at least. would really appreciate it. thanks. :)

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    1. The film was shot in English with only a few words of Russian and Spanish, so you should not need subtitles. It's streaming instantly on Netflix, if you have a subscription to that. If you don't you can sign up for a two week free trial, watch the film (plus others), and then cancel the trial before you get charged.

      I checked, but neither Amazon nor Hulu Plus offer it streaming. Youtube has a bunch of links for it, but randomly checking four or five just showed that they all appear to be come ons.

      I hope this was a little help.

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    2. i see. because when i tried using the other links (putlocker, sosckshare, etc.) it was all dubbed in spanish. i will definitely try your advise to use netflix. thank you for your quick response. :)

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    3. You're welcome. I hope you enjoy the film.

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