Barcelona

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Writer/director Stillman again casts an affectionate eye on the foibles of preppy young Americans, this time two cousins all at sea in the sexual, moral and political whirl of a changing Old World. It's the 'last decade of the Cold War'. Ted (Nichols) is a young, serious-minded car-company executive getting over a failed affair, his recovery hardly helped when Fred (Eigeman) - a brash naval officer - turns up uninvited to stay in his Barcelona flat. When Fred starts 'borrowing' money from his host and meddling in his encounters with various girls, tensions between the pair come to a boil. An incisive comedy of misplaced American manners, this is for the most part a very funny portrait of immaturity deceived by its own ignorance and blinkered obstinacy. Agreed, it's harder to like or care about Ted and Fred as much as their younger (and therefore more forgivably deluded) counterparts in Stillman's earlier Metropolitan, and the story's sudden shift into life-and-death melodrama in the final reel is a little clumsy. But the film looks good, the performances are sharp and droll, and there's more than enough originality here to confirm Stillman as a distinctive, beguiling talent.

Release details

Duration: 101 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Whit Stillman
Screenwriter: Whit Stillman
Cast: Tushka Bergen
Nuria Badia
Taylor Nichols
Chris Eigeman
Hellena Schmied
Pep Munné
Mira Sorvino