Tag Archives: Woody Allen

79 of 366: Hannah and Her Sisters

hannah
imdb.com

I am in desperate need of artwork for the walls in my apartment. Luckily, I just watched Hannah and Her Sisters and now have one of those lovely pieces with red yarn, thumbtacks and note cards I used to try and connect the characters and their ongoing love triangle.

It’s not that complex really, but I found myself obsessed with who was courting who as Woody Allen’s vignette about three sisters, Hannah, Holly and Lee and their romantic lives and careers played out.

Hannah (Mia Farrow) is married to Elliot (Michael Caine), who becomes interested in her sister Lee (Barbara Hershey).

“God, she is beautiful,” Elliot says of Holly in the intro of the film before a Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

Hannah is also divorced from Mickey (Woody Allen) who wants to rekindle his relationship with the third sister, Holly (Dianne Wiest.)

“Love is really unpredictable.” – Mickey

Allen’s film, an Oscar winner for best screenplay as well as supporting actor and actress for Wiest and Caine, is a wonderfully neurotic and poetic telling of romance and family relationships set against the backdrop of mid-1980s New York.

He uses music consistently in the film, often jazz, yet one of my favorite scenes starts with a 1980s rock concert date between Mickey and Holly.

They try to reconnect on the date, but it’s clear Mickey doesn’t fit in as Holly does just a little cocaine and chastises him for all his quirks.

“Why are you making those faces? … I cannot communicate with you, I never knew you were such a tight ass.” — Holly

Mickey takes Holly to a place a little more his tempo, a jazz concert, in the next scene. Of course she feels out of place, showing it by continuing to use cocaine, smoke and drink among people she says wouldn’t realize it because they’re embalmed.

“You don’t deserve Cole Porter, you should stay with those groups that look like they’re going to stab their mothers,” Mickey responds as they leave the concert.

It’s as much of a humorous moment as it is revealing of the characters, a theme throughout the scenes in the film. The scenes are split by one word or a quote as script on the screen, often connected to the character they focus on as they search for happiness in love and their careers as well.

“The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless,” Tolstoy.

Hannah and Her Sisters has the standards of a Woody Allen film with a bookend going back to the family’s Thanksgiving dinner and a reunion between the seemingly mismatched Mickey and Holly in a record store — often a location for love connections in film.

“I think it’s lucky I ran into you, maybe.”

I loved the ending and conclusion of all the separate stories in one final short scene showing the paths the characters went on weren’t all that bad and that, maybe, what’s meant to be will happen.

 

 

 

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62 of 366: Fading Gigolo

fding gigolo
imdb.com

I’m back. I would have kept up with my movies and blogging last weekend, but I was on a beach reading US Weekly and Jennifer Garner’s scathing Vanity Fair tell-all about Ben Affleck and nanny gate.

Okay, that is not even close to true. I was, however, near a beach that is still covered in snow and a frozen lake while visiting my family in Wisconsin. I was also US Weekly adjacent during the car ride there with my sister and nephew, but didn’t get to reading those as I was too busy gripping the door handle in fear (because that does a lot of good) most of the way due to incredibly icy roads (and I wasn’t even the one driving.)

It was a fun weekend aside from the ride there (again I am not sure I can complain because I didn’t have to drive in the wintry mess) as we played games, drank blood marys and heard all the new words my nephew loves to say before capping it off watching John Mulaney’s comedy special on Netflix.

Now I am back at my writing desk with the window open as the sun sets and my cat Fletch warms his body next to my aged computer.

I don’t normally listen to music while I write my blog (not counting the obnoxious tunes with base from my downstairs neighbor), but I thought some Dave Brubeck would fit with a post about Fading Gigolo and help get me back into the swing of things.

Written and directed by John Turturro, Fading Gigolo is the story of two long-time friends who enter into a strange arrangement during a crossroads in their lives when it comes to career, money and romance.

Floravante (Turturro) has some free time on his hands, other than working at a local flower shop, while Murray (Allen) just had to close his storied bookstore in Brooklyn and is is in need of some cash.

In a strange turn of events at his dermatologist’s office, Murray learns she (Sharon Stone) is interested in having a threesome and thinks Floravante might be the man for the job … as long as there is some money in it for him.

At first Floravante (perfect name for a romance story) is hesitant, but he decides to help Murray out in the name of friendship.

That part of the film was a selling point, but the plot was a little strange as the story continued and Murray arranges more conquests for his friend.

Allen plays his standard neurotic character, even though this wasn’t one of his films, and the dynamic between him and Turturro worked well outside of the story’s weak points and oddities.

The supporting cast of Stone, Sofia Vergara and Vanessa Paradis delivered some strong performances on their own but they didn’t fit very well with Allen and Turturro’s characters.

I did, however, enjoy the jazz music score and scenery from New York featured in the film.

You might consider Fading Gigolo for those reasons and as a glimpse at Turturro’s writing and directing style.

It’s good to be back here and planning for my week ahead in movies. Next up: Sicario and perhaps Nosferatu if the mood strikes me.