Richard W. (rewfilmmaker) from NAPLES, FL Reviewed on 9/30/2013...
Remember the movie "The Birdcage", (1996) the American version with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane? If you liked it watch "Gaudi Afternoon". The plots have definite similarities; replace South Beach with Barcelona (Barthalona) and gay guys with lesbians and you'll get the basic idea. There is one big surprise however and it fits in beautifully. Like its counterpart it's a love story just with eccentric characters but the struggle for love is the same. Back in 2002 when this film was released I suppose some of the subject matter was too racy for general audiences. This may account for its limited distribution. Whether you're gay or straight or somewhere in between these girls are hilarious and the architecture is entertaining in itself.
A Delectable Diversion
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are familiar with the wacky but gloriously fun architecture of Gaudi, with all the monuments to his gifts collected in Barcelona, then you will have an inkling of the pleasures in store for you in this little treasure of a film GAUDI AFTERNOON. Almost as a metaphor for the way life imitates Gaudi's art, this well written, photographed and acted film is so off the beaten track that that it slipped by the major theaters who search for the Big Movies, often neglecting these fine ornaments. In short, this is a story of an expatriated American, at odds with her own life and family, who settles temporarily in Barcelona to translate a South American novel from Spanish into English. In the midst of her tedious ad frustrating life pops what appears to be a glamourous femme fatale who hires our bored translator to find her estranged husband. And that is all the plot you get. All of the characters she encounters in her tidbit of detective work are uniquely different from what they appear. In the end all turns out well, but it is the getting there that is so much fun! With actessses such as Judy Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Lily Taylor, and Juliette Lewis expect the best of work. These women are gifted comediennes and the director and cinematographer use them as embellishments visually and emotionally and sarcastically to the wondrously photographed architecture of Gaudi. This movie is rich in color, in imagination, in acting, and in joy. Treat yourself!"
A Pleasant Surprise
rac415 | San Francisco, CA USA | 11/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a pleasant surprise. An extra star for the surprise. Shame on the studio for tossing this film away. And why they ever decided to market this as a Lesbian film I'll never know. Anyway, I smiled through the whole thing, and laughed loudly over many little moments. It's all about the actors looking like they are having a really good time making a silly yet thoughtful film. And what a great cast. It's a small little piece of entertainment with lots to offer without hitting you over the head with typical Hollywood grossness. Best not to know a lot about the slim plot- just watch it and enjoy."
Original, fresh, fun Friday night fare
dawnfinley | Los Angeles, CA | 03/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though Barbara Wilson's novel by the same name casts the characters a bit differently than the film does, this cinematic exploration of gender and sexuality is really entertainting. When I try to explain it to my hip and theory-wise friends they roll their eyes at all of the plot twists, but they don't seem so hokey as you watch. And the opening credit sequence of this film is stunning--absolutely stunning. There are all of these gorgeous stained-glass-like images which fold and melt into one another; almost the way the identity of some of the characters evolves and shifts during the course of the film. We have the usual independent film suspects in the cast--notably Marcia Gay Harden and Lili Taylor--but oddly it doesn't just feel like yet another little indie film that could. The actors do a wonderful job of seducing us as much as each other, and Judy Davis' performance is much more nuanced than perhaps the film even asks for--which makes it especially delicious. And the landscape of Barcelona is truly fabulous. From the first frame to the last frame, you'll be entranced and engaged and surprised."
Certaintly not your average hollywood comedy flick
giovanni | Greece | 08/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gaudi Afternoom is what you could call an alternative piece of comedy . Set and filmed entirely in Spain , the movie is sharp , witty and full of dark humour . More of a film-noir if you'd like to categorize it , it's been carried by a group of talented , underrated female actors . Davis is excellent in the lead role and so is Marcia Gay Harden ( in her most unusual part yet ) who is been provided with more than a couple of poisonous lines to work on by the script . The female versus..."female" scenes are all great yet the best one of all is when Harden and Taylor try to convince a little girl that they can compromise with each other and get over their differences , all in return for her precious love . Certaintly not your ordinary hollywood comedy flick , this spicy film waits for you to discover ."
Love This City, Love These People, & Love Judy Davis !
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 10/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gaudi of the title is, of course, Antonio Gaudi, one of the most famous architecht of the world, and you may remember the unique form of The Church of Saglada Familia, in Barcelona. This film follows the journey of Cassandra, amateur translater turned amateur detective, who wanders in the maze of sexuality in this beautiful city situated in Catalonia.But don't misunderstand here. This is an off-beat comedy, so you see no blood or dead body. Actually, it is delectable Judy Davis you will see, and as Cassandra she is at her best since her role in "Children of Revolution." Cassandra, born in Missigan, is now living in a narrow apartment in Barcelona, where she landed some years ago. She is making her ends meet by translating a Spanish book into English, but finds herself no longer capable of the job. Facing the danger of eviction, she meets a mysterious visitor Frankie, who asks her to find a person named Ben. Reluctantly she accepts the offer, but it is only the begining of her new life among the colorful, unconventional people living in this city.I refrain from mentioning the further development of the story, because there are many twists and turns in it. Not that the story is difficult to follow; rather, you will find the film is challenging our concepts on sexuality and family. Director Susan Seidelman (known for "Desperately Seeking Susan," one of the decent films Madonna made) knows what she is doing, presenting the portraits of characters as unique as Gaudi's works, and many of them will easily and elusively slip away from our ideas about gender, which are formed from their outward looks.So, relax and enjoy the complicated web of sexuality, and as Judy Davis's character is, you will be always comfortably deceived. As I said, Davis is superb, and Marcia Gay Harden is also effective. You see Juliette Lewis (as April, always with some smell of illegal substance) and Lili Taylor too. For Spanish film fans, you find Pedro Armodbar regular Maria Barranco, and from England Christopher Bowen appears as a magician (whose sensual singing is a stand-out).Always pleasant, and surprising, the film keeps on going not in a straight way, like the undulating forms of Gaudi architechture. Speaking of which, you can see many Gaudi's works in Barcelona, from the distant view of Saglada Familia, to the apartment house where Judy Davis stakes out to photograph the still unknown character Ben. You may say that the city itself is the leading actor of the film, and perhaps you are right. The film is as original and free from conventional views on sex, and succeeds to make its point without being heavy or dogmatic. The story inevitably looks muddled at the end, but still the film offers something very unique, and idiosyncratic."