Category Archives: woody allen rom coms

Woody Allen romantic comedies from the year 2000

Magic in the Moonlight

MV5BMTQ3NDY5NjIwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQ2ODkxMjE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Simon McBurney Here is Woody Allen’s annual rom com. It opens in Berlin in 1928 with famous magician Stanley, played by Colin Firth. His childhood friend and fellow magician, Howard, arrives at his show to offer Stanley an interesting proposition.

Stanley is to accompany Howard to the south of France where his friends are being ‘wooed’ by an American spiritualist. Stanley’s job is to unmask Sophie Baker (played by Emma Stone) as a fraud. He is best suited to this job because he is an outspoken opponent of spiritualists and fortune tellers, being strictly driven by rational thought, logic and common sense.

Sophie undoes Stanley’s rationality very quickly. She shows him that life has more magic and mystery to it than he will admit. As he embraces life and finds himself very happy, will the biggest sceptic in the world be won over by Miss Baker?

Emma Stone does a very convincing job being charming, but I think the script was a bit limiting for Firth. Excellent performances from veteran actors like Eileen Atkins and Australian Jacki Weaver.

Woody Allen is pretty ‘hit and miss’ these days. He has a cracker of a film like Blue Jasmine one year, and then he has a regular ‘Sundayafternoon-teaandbiscuits-lovethedresses-kissColinFirth-goodbutnotgreat’ movie like this one. It’s a bit slow in places and doesn’t contain the rapid dialogue that Allen fans love, but it’s still enjoyable and worth a watch.

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Blue Jasmine

MV5BMTc0ODk5MzEyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzI0MDY1OQ@@._V1_SX214_Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins

This is the ‘riches to rags’ story of Jasmine (Blanchett). When her affluent New York lifestyle is cut short, she seeks refuge with her sister Ginger (Hawkins) in San Francisco. She meets a new man which could mean a fresh start, but Jasmine is already lost to herself, so the relationship is doomed before it starts.

Falling from grace is too much for Jasmine’s frail psyche, and she struggles to maintain her grip on reality.

This is a fantastic film with all eyes focussed on Jasmine. It is a change of pace for Woody Allen with women and their troubles in the limelight for the entire show. Cate Blanchett is so extraordinarily riveting that she takes the script to a whole new level. In fact, I wonder if the film would have worked so well with some-one else in that role?

What amazing acting from Blanchett, and from everyone in the cast! This is a must-see film – what more can I say?

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

MV5BMTkzOTI3MTE0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTg3NDI3Mw@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_Gemma Jones, Naomi Watts, Lucy Punch, Freido Pinto, Pauline Collins, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas

Alfie (Hopkins) decides to leave his wife Helena (Jones) because he doesn’t want to be old. Helena seeks emotional help from a fortune teller called Cristal. Alfie seeks out a much younger woman and marries her. Their daughter, Sally, has problems with her own marriage to Roy. He’s a frustrated writer who’s waiting to hear from publishers about his new book. She’s a frustrated woman wanting more from her husband than he can give. Roy looks to another woman, Sally develops feelings for her boss. Not everyone gets what they want. In fact, it could be argued that they get what they deserve.

I saw a comment on a film review website in which the reviewer asked “how many times do you want to watch the same Woody Allen movie?” I agree that it’s not a stand out film for Allen, but I actually enjoy the familiar elements that come out in every one of his movies. I look forward to seeing what different actors can do with an average script – the acting in this film was better than the script.

Lucy Punch plays Charmaine, Alfie’s new young wife, and she is excellent, her dialogue faultless.  Let’s see some more of her in leading roles. Gemma Jones (Bridget Jones’ mother in the BJ Diary films) is devine and is the essential, pivotal, neurotic character. Watts also gives a good performance as Sally. Brolin is an odd choice, but Anthony Hopkins definitely works as Alfie.  A ‘must see’ movie for Woody Allen fans, and a ‘don’t knock yourself out’ for everyone else.

Paris Manhattan

parismanhattan.poster.ws_Alice Taglioni, Patrick Bruel, Marine Delterme, Lois-Do de Lencquesaing, Woody Allen

Alice is a single woman running her family pharmacy. Her sister found love right out from under her, but Alice is yet to find a man who enjoys Cole Porter and Woody Allen in the same way she does. Allen is her childhood hero and helps her negotiate through life, from his poster position on her bedroom wall.

Although her family set her up with Victor, she remains involved with the dashing Vincent and doesn’t see Victor as the love of her life. Until, that is, Victor surprises Alice by showing her how much he really does know and understand her. Woody Allen may be her guide, but at some point she needs to act on her own.

This is quite an enjoyable French film. It doesn’t provide a lot of laughter, but that is fairly typical of this style of rom com. The comedy subtle and charming, like the characters.

To Rome with Love

MV5BMTcwNTg4MDMxM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjAzMzY3Nw@@._V1_SX214_Alison Pill, Judy Davis, Greta Gerwig, Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page, Alessandra Mastronardi, Alec Baldwin, Woody Allen, Jesse Eisenberg

Set in bustling, loveable Rome, here are four separate stories:

American tourist Hayley meets Michelangelo, they fall in love and get engaged. Her parents come to Rome (Allen and Davis) to meet his family. Hayley’s father tries to make Michelangelo’s father into a huge opera star, even though he can only sing in the shower.

Antonio and Milly are newly weds and new arrivals in Rome. They go off in separate directions and each experiences their own sexual fantasy before they come back together and decide to go home.

Leopoldo becomes a star and is hounded by the Paparazzi, just for being his normal, boring old self. And when it all comes to an end, he’s not sure he wants to return to a world without fame and glamour.

Well known architect, John, holidays in Rome where he lived 30 years ago. He meets a young architecture student, Jake, and his girlfriend. They have a friend come to stay who provides a dangerous love interest for Jake. John acts as Jack’s conscience and tries to give him advice.

This film is a little like Allen’s last work “Midnight in Paris“. There are places where you can get confused, and you need to allow yourself to wander off into the bizarre Woody Allen sub-conscious. There are at least six women protagonists in this flick, but as usual, it is the male psyche that is being examined in detail.

I enjoyed this movie. The four story lines are not meant to meet up. They are four separate little films in one. Definitely worth a watch or adding to the Woody Allen library.

Midnight in Paris

Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams

Gil and his fiance, Inez, travel to Paris for a holiday. He is a successful Hollywood screenwriter, and is trying to become a novelist. While Inez hangs out with her parents and some friends, Gil hangs out with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dali, Stein and other artists and writers from the 1920s. Each night he is transported back to what he believes is the golden age of Paris, and this takes him further and further away from Inez.

This is fairly typical Woody Allen stuff – the pained, self-critical artist, looking for himself. At first I wasn’t sure I liked Owen Wilson in Woody’s shoes. But he does grow into the role as he goes. McAdams certainly doesn’t do the script any favours (I’m not a huge fan of hers really), but in typical Woody Allen style, she is only on the peripheries of the film anyway. The real love interest for Gil is the romance of Paris itself.

It’s a quirky flick, not overly engaging or funny, but light, entertaining, and clever.

Hollywood Ending

Woody Allen, Tea Leoni, George Hamilton, Debra Messing

A New York film about making a New York film – very Woody Allen.  Allen plays Val, a has-been film director hired by his ex-wife and her fiance to do a film on New York.  He’s renowned for being difficult so everyone involved in the project is tense that he’ll lose the film company a lot of money.

Before he can start filming – BOOM – something does go wrong. I won’t tell you what, but bloody hell, it’s funny!

Nowadays, Woody’s films can be hit or miss. These days I can’t wait for him to script himself a leading lady who is closer to his own age. He did well putting Tea Leoni in this film, giving Scarlett Johansson a rest. Debra Messing as Val’s girlfriend is fantastic.

Woody Allen films are, of course, not your typical romantic comedies. But this one contains all the elements of an above average rom com. Still makes me laugh when I think of some of the scenes. This film is a ‘must see’.

Anything Else

MV5BNjkyNjYyMzAzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMTMxNDU3._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_Christina Ricci, Woody Allen, Jason Biggs, Stockard Channing, Danny DeVito

Jerry is a young writer and Amanda is an aspiring actor/singer. They meet while they’re both dating other people, but being very attracted to each other, embark on an affair. They eventually move in together, but things go slightly off the rails after a while. Amanda refuses to have sex with Jerry, and whilst Jerry remains faithful and committed to Amanda, he does confide in his fellow writer, Dobel (played by Allen). Dobel is a little unhinged so his advice doesn’t look like being helpful, but he does end up being right about Amanda.

Jason Biggs plays Jerry and does a solid, young version of Woody Allen, perhaps with slightly more masculinity. He is a rambling romantic having unsatisfactory therapy. Amanda, played by Christina Ricci, is dishonest, neurotic, and a smoker and I don’t think we’re meant to like her. I certainly don’t.

I think Ricci an odd choice for a Woody Allen film. It seems like she’s doing a stage page – she needs to dial it back one notch and relax her dialogue. She just doesn’t fit and looked weird in this role –  funnily enough, other reviewers liked Ricci but didn’t like Biggs.

I love Woody Allen films so didn’t mind this movie, but I don’t think it is one of his better ones and found it a tad too slow for my liking.

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