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Legacy Review

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Hannah and Her Sisters, the second drama by Woody Allen after a long string of comedies, is a fantastically crafted slice-of-life drama of three sisters with interlocking lives. It’s psychologically exhausting in a good way. It’s not as stuffy as Allen’s previous drama, Interiors, but just as idiosyncratic and even more lived-in. And it feels introspective by Allen too in more ways than one.

The cast is uniformly outstanding, with Michael Caine, Mia Farrow, and Dianne Wiest amazing as leads. I loved getting internal monologues from many of the characters — multi-character narration in general is underused in films.

Even Allen himself, usually a taxing presence as an actor, is enjoyable here in the film’s comic subplot of a man facing his fear of mortality.

It’s not as creative as Purple Rose of Cairo (let alone Zelig or Annie Hall), and it’s not nearly as gorgeous as Manhattan or Stardust Memories. But it might have the best tonal and narrative control of any of his films yet.

Is It Good?

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.


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