On the one hand, I might have over-binged on Woody Allen movies in the past three months. Some of his themes and rhythms of writing are starting to seem repetitive and shallow to the point I rolled my eyes a few times.
On the other hand, this a pretty marvelous art house drama. “Bergman-esque” is the term they use for this kind of morally complex retrospective style, I think. There’s also something almost spiritual about the central gimmick: a woman overhearing another woman’s confession in a nearby shrink’s office, but what she hears feels so personal that it almost reads as a reflexive hallucination. (The young psych patient’s name is “Hope” for crying out loud.)
Gena Rowlands is amazingly controlled throughout a movie that asks her to do a LOT. And Allen is, against all odds, a better director than a writer at this point, I think. The camera holds an intense gaze that amplifies the film’s themes.
It’s quite groggy in its pacing and energy, but the emotional threads teased out are remarkably sharp, especially Allen’s increasingly cynical view of marriage always dying a slow, wheezing death.
Very Good (6/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.