July 27, 2013


Woody Allen, 1979

Woody Allen directs and stars in this classic black and white film about a writer who is torn between two relationships. One relationship is with a young seventeen year old girl named Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), and the other is with his best friend Yale's (Michael Murphy) mistress Mary (Diane Keaton).

The heavy-hearted dialogue is filled with intellectual grit and witty humor. The film explores the concept of opposites attracting. When Allen's character Isaac meets Mary for the first time, he acts as if he can't stand to hear her talk. The attraction grows, after lots of pigtail pulling. The highlights of Keaton's career are certainly her roles in Woody Allen's films, and she really provides an exceptional performance here consistent with her performance in Annie Hall two years earlier. Her confidence on screen is obvious. Hemingway is alluring as the innocent, introverted, culture-hungry high-schooler. Her character is a good example of the younger girl attached to the older man for what might possibly be the wrong reasons. She has no long-term relationships under her belt, and her lack of experience makes her vulnerable to Isaac's wise charm. Isaac successfully channels Allen's neurotic charm and quick banter. It's Woody Allen's love poem to one of his earliest muses - his dear hometown. So many beautiful images that could only be shown in black and white. The planetarium scene, the rain fall in Central Park, and the carriage ride also in Central Park. The skyline shots of with the array of illuminated squares. The classic shot of the bench in front of the Brooklyn Bridge. The deep blacks and the grainy grays are mesmerizing and effectively capture the Big Apple in the late 1970's. It's certainly one of his more inviting films. Romantic comedies are certainly his wheel-house, and he's effective at telling a story of a group of people completely preoccupied by their pursuit of love in his beloved Manhattan. 

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