Wealthy couple Katherine (Bergman) and Alexander Joyce (Sanders) are visiting Naples to sell a deceased uncle's villa. Their relationship is cool at best, tense at worst, their by-play full of sniping and sarcasm. Over the course of their stay, they begin spending more time apart — she tours the local museums, he wiles the days away in Capri. Their union seems to be at a breaking point, but an unplanned trip to Pompeii will change their lives and might just save their relationship.
This mature, subtly probing drama about a marriage on the rocks is one of Rossellini's finest achievements. In a brilliant stroke, the director uses the empty spaces, ruins, and architecture of his home country to reflect his characters' existential malaise. Bergman is simply, tragically luminous, and though Sanders's Alex may be harder to warm to, his inner crisis is no less moving. Their tale climaxes in an emotionally resonant, unforgettable sequence. Take this "Journey," and soon.