Tags

, ,


This is a Jaglom-style film from Woody Allen:  lots of talking by highly-educated New Yorkers about how difficult it is to be married and retain your own identity.  It is shot in a quasi-documentary style, with characters at times speaking direct to camera in response to questions from an off-screen inquisitor.  There is a lot of jerky, hand-held footage – so stylistically it is somewhere between a 60s documentary in cinema-vérité mode and a quasi-Bergman meditation.  But it is very talky and does not actually cut very deep.  It is difficult to feel much interest in any of the characters in the film – all of them so busy making excuses for how miserable they feel.

It was released in 1992, which was probably just before Woody Allen and Mia Farrow split up.  It is quite queasy watching them play a bickering married couple in this film.  Farrow plays an insecure but passive-aggressive woman who wants another child – strikingly similar to the persona that emerged from the publicity around their real-life break-up.  More disconcertingly still, we see Allen flirting with a 21 year old student – although he does back away at the end from any kind of sexual involvement.

The dialogue is copious and there are plenty of stuck-on references to Strindberg, Ibsen and Mahler, but it does not really convince.  There is no real bite or wit but plenty of mildly amusing wisecracks.  There is never a real sense of drama or tragedy.  These people will just go on talking and talking while their lives continue to drift.

Judy Davis plays perhaps the strongest character in the film.  She never manages to say the right thing, almost as if she is afraid of giving in to her passions of the moment.  Something is holding her back all the time.  She can go so far with Liam Neeson but no further.  Lysette Anthony as the new-age bimbo is perhaps a caricature but she is genuinely ridiculous in the ardour of her stupid but very firmly-held convictions.  She is the only light point in a troubled, confused film.

Advertisements