Sunday 13 May 2007

Husbands and Wives (1992) - ickleReview (DVD)

Woody Allen film in which one married couple (Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis) tell their friends (Woody Allen and Mia Farrow) they're breaking up. A series of affairs follows, including Liam Neeson. There's neurosis and psycho therapy. Woody's character, married to Farrow, seduces one of his young female students (Juliette Lewis). Davis plays some brilliant hysterical scenes, a jealous wife to Pollack, who knocks up his socially inferior aerobics instructor (Lysette Anthony).

What distinguishes it is the hand-held style in which it is shot. Usually Allen's films are smooth and elegant. This one is edgy and makes you nervous just by watching it. Although a little obvious, it does convey the unsteady state of mind of the characters; it does feel a little rough and a few of the cuts are sloppy. Allen also reverts to semi-documentary mode as the characters narrate their own plot and become retrospective talking heads, like in When Harry Met Sally... (1989).

The funniest bits are the mild arguments between Allen and Farrow, whose relationship has cooled off, especially since their friends' break-up has made them more self-conscious. There's a brilliant anti-climax to a sex scene when Allen tells Farrow to go and put her diaphragm on.

Nugget: reliable entertainment, but not one of my all-time Woody favourites.

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