Hannah and Her Sisters - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hannah and Her Sisters Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 1, 2010
What makes this film so special and unforgettable - right there with its flawless structure, impeccable direction, three-dimensional characters and phenomenal dialogue - is seeing Woody Allen be won over by such a surprising amount of optimism, and the result is... perfection.
Super Reviewer
½ November 14, 2007
The pastiche structure of this film is complex though sometimes unsatisfyingly slow. This dysfunctional literati family struggles with passive-aggressive sororal jealousy and spousal musical chairs. The titular character is the least developed. Hannah's acting talent and togetherness is only talked about through pervasive monologues; her strengths and demons are never really shown.

Nice uncredited cameo from caterpillar-browed Sam Waterston from "The Newsroom"!
Super Reviewer
July 11, 2013
It's no Bananas, but really, what is?
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2011
Woody Allen skillfully blends comedy and drama in this wonderfully observed portrait of the lives, loves, and issues of a close knit family and their significant others over the course of a couple of years.

Hannah (Mia Farrow) is the oldest child of artistic parents. She's a successful, kind, and thoughtful actress, wife, and mother. She's basically the backbone of the family, who both hate and need her. Her two sisters, Holly (Dianne Wiest) and Lee (Barabra Hershey) are more aimless and resent her because of her stable and successful life, yet the rely on her for support so much that they couldn't possibly truly hate her. However, Hannah begins to realize that she's just as lost as the rest of the world when her life starts to unravel due to sibling rivalry and betrayal.

This movie has some really serious dramatic moments, but they are nicely balanced out by some terrifically funny stuff involving Woody's character- a hypochondriac in the TV industry who goes through existential and spiritual crises, There's humor with some of the other characters, but the bulk comes from Woody's Mickey. This film has it all: comedy, tragedy, pain, relief, laughs, and tears. It all works wonderfully and reeks of realism and experience. Simply put, this is some truly great writing.

The performances are also just terrific. The three ladies playing sisters have a great rapport together, Woody is great as usual doing his trademark shtick, Michael Caine (who, along with Wiest snagged an Oscar for his work here) is quite good as the husband to won sister who has an affair with one of the other two. Showing up in some nice supporting roles are Carrie Fisher and Max von Sydow, both of whom, despite being supporters, do a good job. I also enjoyed seeing Daniel Stern make a brief appearance, as well as Julie Kavner, who I think pretty much stole the few scenes she was in.

All in all, this is just an excellent study of human relations, and ranks pretty high as some of Allen's best work. In a way, this almost felt like light opera or super high art, only not as pretentious and more accessible. Even then this won't be for everyone, but if you give it a chance, there's bound to be something here for you to enjoy. Definitely give this one a go.
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2011
Hannah and Her Sisters is a film with a genuine emotional core and beautifully explores relationships and the meaning of life. Plus, it's hilarious. One of Woody Allen's finest pictures. Like, wow, how do movies get this good?
Super Reviewer
August 17, 2011
An unmistakable masterpiece from the mind of Woody Allen concerning a tight-knit family and their relationships, experiences, and how they cross paths with one another. When a movie packs in hilarious comedy, realistic drama, and a nice touch of philosophical discussion about the meaning of life, all in a tightly run-time of just over 100 minutes, you know a master is at the helms of the project. Allen, as usual, gets the most out of each one of his cast members, especially Michael Caine and Dianne Weist. Woody gives himself the most interesting part about the movie, where his character battles the negative thoughts associated with the possibility of living with a cancerous tumor. With expert narration and sound writing consistently keeping the movie moving at an assured, comfortable pace, and with an ending that takes a nice, happy route, one could argue that this film is Allen's greatest achievement (although I still think "Annie Hall" tops most movies out there, including this one - only slightly, though).
Super Reviewer
July 13, 2010
A very well rounded scope on the intertwined lives of sisters, their husbands and lovers, and the stress and guilt of affairs, drugs, and home lives. Three completely different sisters, each with their own qualms, are thrust into a world they know nothing about, or have tainted knowledge of, thanks to their actor parents, always fighting each other with infidelities and liquor. The beauty of how fragile each is in their own way makes for a volcano of emotion that erupts whenever something negative happens, like infertility, infidelity, or lack of talent. Woody Allen directs this as a drama without his usual neurotic comedy stance, and it pays off. Wiest is finally showcased as something other than a maternal presence, but instead the black sheep in a functioning, intellectual family dynamic. Lee is both a hopeless romantic and a cynic, and the center of attention, Hannah, is the oldest sister, in charge of her sisters' lives with an iron fist. It was daring, and yet so simple. It is now my favorite Allen film.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2010
"I know maybe is a very slim reed to hang your whole life on, but that's the best we have."

Ah, the complicated lives of upper-middle class Manhattanites. The neuroses, the romantic capriciousness and uncertainty, the family dynamics that churn beneath the surface, and the panicked musings on death and what does or doesn't come after. Hannah and Her Sisters covers familiar territory for Allen, and does it better than some of his attempts and not as well as others. I'd put it between between Manhattan and Annie Hall in terms of how much I liked it. Firmly middle of the pack.

It's quite clever in some parts, has a happier ending than many of Woody's films, it has a great cast, it isn't always as funny as you might expect, and it's more entertaining on the second go-round. If you're a Woody Allen fan then you'll probably enjoy it at least some, but I'm not confident enough to guess where Hannah and Her Sisters will end up fitting into your personal ranking of the prolific director's movies. Personally, I think it's good, but it narrowly misses out on being among my favorites.
The Gandiman
Super Reviewer
½ January 7, 2010
One of Allen's best along with Annie Hall and Bullets Over Broadway. A sharply written movie about family dynamics. Wiest is outstanding. Allen's loving shots of NY in the 80s are exquisite.
Super Reviewer
½ May 15, 2010
deffinetly one of Woody Allens more serious movie but funny none the less. I dont really think it can compaire with When Harry Met Sally, or Sleepers but its not bad in its own Woody Allen (serious) type of way. I love Michael Caine...He is always brilliant. and Mia Farrow really needs to keep her hair Short! ;)
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
May 10, 2010
Woody Allen's directing technique changed a little bit from the 70s to the 80s. Hannah and her Sisters has more of a "Crimes and Misdemeanors" feel than a "Manhattan"- feel. Woody Allen does have a minor role in this film, but the true focus is (surprisingly enough) on Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her sisters, Holly (Dianne Wiest) and Lee (Barbara Hershey). Hannah is a successful actress, once married to Mickey (Allen), but now married to Eliot (Michael Caine) who, as the film opens, seems unhappy in his marriage and hopelessly in love with Lee. He convinces her to leave her aging artist boyfriend (Max von Sydow) who claims her to be his only link to the outside world, telling her he will leave Hannah. Meanwhile, Holly and her friend April (Carrie Fisher) are struggling actors who want to open a catering business. Holly depends on Hannah's seemingly endless supply of generosity to help her in all her life's endeavors, yet offers her sister only resentment in return. Meanwhile, Mickey becomes convinced he's dying, thinking his hearing loss is related to a brain tumor. There are plenty of biblical undertones running through the film's story, and while Allen still weaves some comedy into the proceedings, it almost feels secondary. Allen's always been an original filmmaker, but he's worn his influences on his sleeve. Hannah and her Sisters feels wholly unique, like Allen's vision undiluted by outside influences. It's a distillation that might be somewhat dry, but still shows what a brilliant director he is.
Super Reviewer
August 27, 2007
There's a *reason* why Woody Allen is a living icon of cinema. Hannah and her Sisters is not neurotically funny, like Annie Hall, but rather delicate in its humor.

Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest and Barbara Hershey play three beautiful children of showbusiness facing some serious relationship and family issues. Michael Caine plays Hannah's (Farrow) husband, and Woody Allen plays his ex. So I won't give away the whole plot because the beauty of the movie is how it unfolds, and the 16-chapter division, with its cutesy titles. All actors give great performances and give life to very solid characters, even though the movie itself is presented in a rather scattered way. Definitely my favorite aspect is that it plays like a documentary, or a reality show, as most of Woody Allen's movies do. I absolutely love the dialogue... the flow of the conversation and the perfect -and intelligent- choice of everday words. It's nothing less than a terrific and fun movie made during Woody Allen's best hour.
Super Reviewer
November 12, 2009
This was lovely, and I was so ready to dismiss it because it starts out just like every other fucking Woody Allen film ever, stuffed full of noxious intellectualism and older men dating pretty younger women. Watching this, however, I came to the realization that Allen is sort of a proto-Diablo Cody, stuffing his screenplays with self-indulgent stylistic references that can distract and grate, but that don't necessarily compromise the quality of what's going on around them. Despite the upper-class white elitism on display here, this is perhaps his most scathing deconstruction of it...although two out of three of the main offenders get what they want here, I'm willing to allow him his concessions, as with Tarantino. The man's a pervert, but he's one who understands people, if Hannah and her Sisters is any indication. His strongest writing is on display here, in a gallery of voluminous, rich characters, deepened by tiny sight gags and quiet moments instead of heavy dialogue. You walk away with detailed portraits of all three sisters and the men who love(d) them.

I'm glad this came along when it did, because if this hadn't worked I would have just called off my attempts to like Woody Allen entirely. As it is, I still wouldn't call him a favorite, simply because his scope isn't quite what I look for in films. He operates very well in his wheel house, and never better than he does here, though it all would surely be lost without the generosity of all of his performers. Everyone is in top form here; Mia Farrow is downright heartbreaking as a woman whose self-sufficiency actually hurts the people around her; Dianne Wiest exemplifies a woman torn, the victim of pathological bad luck who tries to keep a smile on but can barely fight back the tears; Barbara Hershey has a talent for portraying guilt and longing in the same downcast glance. Michael Caine's rigid joy is almost depressing to watch, even if the character himself isn't terribly sympathetic, and Max von Sydow is surprisingly effective in a very limited role. The only person I didn't care for is - surprise! - Woody Allen. SAME FUCKING CHARACTER. Stay behind the damn camera.

Also, are there ever any minorities in his movies, or what?
Super Reviewer
April 24, 2007
An easy movie to understand for me, as I too am in love with Barbara Hershey. With two deserving Oscar-winning performances (Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest, both in supporting roles), Hannah and Her Sisters is a truly enjoyable film from a filmmaker that I find myself getting more and more into with every one of his films that I see. The best part, for me, was the solliloquies that each character got, a form of narration that was not as annoying as it usually is to hear a character think... and it's funny too. Most people put this among Woody Allen's best, and I know that it will lead me to watch more of his movies to see if I agree. An enjoyable meditation on coupledom that pulls off one of my favourite movie tricks - letting one piece of music basically tell the whole story - everyone should see this film at least once.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2007
rounded characters, fabulous storytelling, and the customarily hilarious one-liners. dianne wiest impresses me every time. it's like a vast painting by renoir or something. nothing gets resolved but the story runs so deep. it leaks autumn.
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2008
Micheal Caine gives an amazing performance and this is in my opinion one of the best things Allen has ever written.
Super Reviewer
½ October 10, 2007
This isn't my favorite Woody Allen film, but still a great one.
Super Reviewer
November 5, 2006
Once you get past the gross 80sness of it all (i.e. it's dated) it's great. It's touching and hilarious. I was originally going to hang myself when Allen came on the screen, but the other plotlines grabbed me immediately, even if it leaked pretentiousness for a while. Michael Caine has probably never been better and Dianne Wiest was hilarious (namely during the flashback with her date with Allen.) The voiceovers are great and Allen spits out some great one-liners as his character becomes less and less annoying. Tons of great scenes and great performances.
Super Reviewer
½ July 28, 2007
I've always hated Woody Allen's ODD (to say the least) sense of humor --
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2007
woody's best
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