ALLEN GOES AYCKBOURN
Woody Allen's last film, Whatever Works
, with Larry David, was particularly awful and pointless. So expectations for his latest effort, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
, weren't high. Returning to shooting in England (partly because these days European money seems to be the only kind he can get), You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
is a drama about Helena Shebritch (Gemma Jones),
married to Alfie (Anthony Hopkins)
and their daughter Sally Channing (Naomi Watts).
Sally is married to American writer Roy, played by Josh Brolin. When Alfie splits with Helena as part of some late mid-life crisis, and takes up with brainless bimbo Charmaine (Lucy Punch),
the rest of the family's life seems to feel the ripples. Sally's husband Roy takes a fancy to gorgeous neighbour Dia, played by Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire
while Helena goes to 'find herself'. You can tell from the offset that none of it is going to end well
but one of the biggest problems here is that it's such a slight concept that it leaves your brain almost as soon as you have finished watching it. Allen doesn't seem comfortable in this world of English manners and foibles
and dialogue comes across as stilted and unconvincing in the mouths of the predominantly British cast. The character portrayed by Antonia Banderas as Sally's boss is redundant
and Punch as gold-digging airhead Charmaine comes across as unreal and caricatured. Watts turns in a decent performance as does Hopkins, who underplays things for a change.
So You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
is an improvement
on Whatever Works
but it's hard to believe that this was the same writer/ director responsible for Annie Hall, Manhattan
and even Bullets Over Broadway.
So worth catching on DVD when it comes out but nothing would be gained by seeing it at the cinema.
Labels: Anthony Hopkins, drama, England, Woody Allen