Hannah and Her Sisters Reviews
Nice uncredited cameo from caterpillar-browed Sam Waterston from "The Newsroom"!
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.
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.
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.
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?