You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

Woody Allen movies often remind me of plays. From the music, ensemble cast — but with few people in each scene — to the sense there are no cameras separating the characters from the audience, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger is no exception.
This time Allen chose Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins and Josh Brolin to lead his story about love, deception and failure all set against the backdrop of the fantasy of fortune telling.
All the characters essentially want what they can’t have in their marriage or career, or both, and those who go for the forbidden get burned a little bit. This isn’t a drama or a thriller, but the phrase You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger is not as romantic as it sounds.
How Allen weaves these stories in a way that looks so effortless is beyond me, but all that matters is his films provide everything that an on screen escape should.
While in Allen films there typically are not “spoilers,” the ups and downs of the characters, from significant to subtle, are not to be known until you see this film. The unknown adds to the mystery and, as Naomi Watts’ character Sally says, “Sometimes the illusions are better than the medicine.”
I will say that line is one recited by the narrator near the end of the film, and I am still trying to tie in the William Shakespeare quote provided at the beginning: “Life was full of sound and fury and in the end signified nothing.”
There is a sense in the film that perhaps some of the characters’ wishes and wants and losses don’t mean anything, so perhaps that’s the connection. Regardless, what I like most about Allen’s films is they can be deep and thought-provoking as little or as much as you want.
With that, I turned off my DVD player as the credits rolled with a sense of whimsy and enjoyment. Perhaps most of all because of the opening and closing song and my favorite lyric in it: “When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.”

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