For my second post in the Queer Movie Friday series I decided to re-visit a movie I first watched a few years ago: Room in Rome.
Director: Julio Medem
Genre: Drama, romance
Average rating: 6.2/10
This is a Spanish movie and it follows two women, the Spanish Alba and the Russian Natasha, as they meet on a vacation in Rome. Alba has always liked women, while Natasha is completely new to the idea – nonetheless, when they meet they decide to spend the day in a hotel room, getting to know each other. Thus the title, Room in Rome.
I had already watched this a few years ago, but here’s something I completely forgot: the two women are VERY naked throughout the entire story. The whole movie is pretty much shot without clothes. And there are a few scenes that could be considered close to porn. I don’t know how I could forget about that but I was honestly quite surprised when I re-watched it. Just thought I’d share that information in case you’re interested in this movie but aren’t comfortable with watching that kind of stuff. (The original movie poster is very naked too, which is why I’ve decided to use an alternative one.)
What I like a lot about this movie is the low-budget feel. The whole thing is shot with a very small cast and in a single room, with the occasional scene on the street. The dialogue also feels natural, like it isn’t part of a movie but just a normal conversation between two people that was accidentally filmed. It’s very beautiful in a strange way.
If you can forget about the whole naked-people-this-is-basically-porn thing, the movie is actually quite adorable. As Alba and Natasha get to know each other, they open up about their lives back home. First they make up stories, inspired by the paintings in the hotel room, but the more time they spend together, the more they tell the truth. Very cute if you ask me. I also like how real their encounter feels. It’s not just super romantic and silly, but they manage to fight a little in the short amount of time they spend together, which I think makes a lot of sense – try spending 24 hours in a hotel room with a naked stranger.
Another great thing about this movie is that each woman speaks her own language in private, which is something a lot of movies and TV shows ignore for some reason. I mean, if you’re calling your mother and you’re both from Spain, why would you speak English to her? For the benefit of the person watching? So I was really happy when Natasha and Alba both spoke their first language, Russian and Spanish, in private. Since the movie takes place in Rome, there’s also a hotel guy named Max, who speaks Italian.
The best thing about this movie is, without a doubt, the soundtrack. Most of the songs are by Jocelyn Pook, who is fantastic, and then there are also two songs by Russian Red, who has the sweetest voice in the world. I actually downloaded most of the songs from the movie after I first watched it, and I’ve listened to them a lot since, but for some reason I completely forgot where they came from, so I was positively surprised to hear them again. Even if this movie doesn’t interest you, I highly recommend the soundtrack – it’s magical.
The reason I’m giving this movie 3 stars and not more is that it wasn’t interesting enough; the story is very cute but there’s only so much that can happen in a hotel room. Also way too much naked. But I still recommend watching it, especially if you want something light-hearted and romantic but at the same time need a bit of drama. This movie is a love letter to Rome, to art, to history and to love itself.
‘Till next time and happy watching!