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Melinda and Melinda (2005)

tomatometer

53

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 156
Fresh: 82 | Rotten: 74

Woody Allen's uneven Melinda and Melinda fails to find neither comedy nor pathos in what seems like a rehash of his previous themes.

55

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 42
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 19

Woody Allen's uneven Melinda and Melinda fails to find neither comedy nor pathos in what seems like a rehash of his previous themes.

audience

47

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 16,796

My Rating

Movie Info

While Woody Allen has long fused comedy and drama in his films, he embraces the two styles in a new and unusual way in this feature. Sy (Wallace Shawn) is enjoying dinner with some friends when they begin debating the nature of the tragic and the humorous. Sy, observing that a very fine line separates the two, decides to demonstrate this notion by showing how the same essential story can be either funny or sad depending on the way certain elements are handled; for the rest of the film, we jump

PG-13,

Drama, Romance, Comedy

Woody Allen, Andy Borowitz

Oct 25, 2005

$3.7M

Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (157) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (82) | Rotten (74) | DVD (24)

Neither version of Melinda, despite Mitchell‚(TM)s game try at making them distinctive beyond their different hairdos, is funny or tragic enough to fully engage us; there‚(TM)s no opportunity for an audience to be moved.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Shawn character says, 'Moments of humor do exist (in life). I exploit them, but in a tragic context.' Allen couldn't have said it better himself.

April 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's middle-rung Woody, but compared to such dismal efforts as "Hollywood Ending" and "Anything Else," the movie is a godsend.

April 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Has a fascinating premise; it's the execution that's sloppy.

April 2, 2005 Full Review Source: ReelViews | Comment (1)
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The comic and tragic stories are cleverly intercut, but they're both so inconsequential that it's hard to bring yourself to care which one you're watching.

April 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's pleasant and challenging enough, in fits and starts, and certainly not the embarrassment of his last few movies.

April 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Great premise, but talky dramedy doesn't deliver.

December 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

While the main lure for audiences--Will Ferrell--is basically forgettable, Allen does compose one fascinating and witty look at the human mind and its own ability to depict events through our own sub-conscious preference.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Reminds us there is little to divide comedy from tragedy, and that neither comes exclusively. After all, the tears of sorrow and the tears of joy both come from the same place, and dampen a tissue with equal intensity.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Mitchell, in her dual role, gives a breakout performance (two of them, in fact).

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

A movie just shouldn't feel like homework. And with the constant shift in stories and repeatedly reinvented characters, unless you're in the mood for taking notes, you're going to feel like you're invited to rehearsals, rather than the finished product.

May 28, 2007 Full Review
Long Island Press

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

All the inner workings of "Melinda and Melinda" show that Allen has finally risen above, returned to his position as a fine filmmaker.

August 29, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

It has great performances, snappy one-liners and a likeably tricksy structure, all wrapped up in an affirmative antidote to life's daunting complexities. Welcome back, Woody.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Allen presents the side-by-side stories as if to compare the comic and tragic views of experience, and it might work but for the fact that the two [playwrights] come up with dissimilar plots featuring different characters played mostly by different actors

January 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Blogcritics.org
Blogcritics.org

One story, two versions, each from Woody Allen, so you know you're in for it.

November 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

The comic side isn't really that comic.

November 6, 2005 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

A welcome return to form from a really talented guy who's been churning out cinematic junk for the past few years.

October 27, 2005 Full Review Source: DVD Clinic
DVD Clinic

(...) aburrida, ni lo suficientemente cůmica, ni lo suficientemente dramŠtica...

September 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

finding the plot "gimmick" seems to exhaust all of Allen's creativity

September 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Draxblog Movie Reviews

Schizophrenic but mildly diverting, with a revelatory performance by Radha Mitchell in the lead(s).

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Happy proof that news of Allen's artistic death has been much exaggerated.

May 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Overcoming the handicap of an overt, writerly device, Allen crafts a warm comedy and a painful tragedy right before our eyes.

May 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Clever, if not cutting-edge, Woody Allen's "Melinda and Melinda" examines whether we interpet life as a comedy or tragedy.

May 15, 2005 Full Review
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

Even though this isn't up to the standards of the best Woody Allen films, it is still worth watching.

May 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for Melinda and Melinda

Melinda and Melinda is a great idea, the parallel telling of the same story, one as serious drama and one as comedy. To be fair only someone like Woody Allen could conceive such an idea let alone pull it off. Well, he conceived it but he didn't pull it off. On one side I think the characters don't work and are badly written but then the same could be said of some of Allen's other characters that did work. I think it comes down to the actors. The actors and the complexities of the story that only gets more complicated the further into the film you get. Allen's films have gone down in quality overall since 2000 but I'm starting to think it's down to the casting decisions rather than the writing (although any Allen film set in the UK is both badly written, conceived and acted, not to mention best avoided).
February 19, 2014
SirPant

Super Reviewer

I guess I have to see it again. Don't watch M & M if you are tired - it is too confusing realizing which story you are in.
December 17, 2012
Redlats

Super Reviewer

Woody Allen has long made both dramas and comedies, and even some hybrids of the two. This film though, is perhap the first time where he really blended them in a unique or interesting way. The movie is a frame story sort of deal concerning a group of friends (two of which are playwrights) at a restaurant discussing which is the more true to life type of story: a comedy or tragedy? To make their respective points, they tell one love story about the same woman, two different ways, comedically and tragically, with each story having some of the same types of details) the initial setups, plot points, and just some small stuff like preference for certain things, etc).

This is a really fun premise, and it's done pretty well. To really make things lively, the two stories are told intertwiningly, instead of one after the other, as a result, the movie as a whole is a giant ball of comedy and drama, but I'm not gonna say how it all ends, since that would spoil the fun. I'll just go ahead and say though, that the film does conclude in maybe the most appropriate way possible. Heck, you might even be able to figure it out just by the premise alone.

I won't say which of the stories about Melinda is the better one, or the preferred one, since I just can't do it. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, offer up some universal truths, and have some good stuff going on. No, the film isn't perfect, and it does move kinda slow, and a lot of this is just more of Allen being Allen instead of truly branching out and doing something groundbreaking. However, even when he rehashes, it's a joy because he's just a great kind of artist whom you don't mind listening to every time he talks, even if he's repeating the same stuff over and over.

The cast is populated with lots of names, from Radha Mitchell playing both sides of Melinda, Will Ferrell as the Allen surrogate, Wallace Shawn as one of the storytellers, and Chiwetel Ejiofor playing the only real character who actually seems fleshed out instead of just being a caricature or sketch of a real person.

The performances are pretty good though, even if Ferrell doesn't quite make the role his own and Sevigny and Peet try hard but still sorta seem to struggle. Ejiofor and Mitchell are the best (hands down), but like I said, even though not everyone is great, no one really sucks here.

I kinda wished for something that didn't seem to be very plodding or rather directionless at times, but I won't that this was boring or a waste of time. It's not completely satisfying, but it works pretty well as a side dish as opposed to a full meal, ie: watch it along with some other stuff instead of making it the highlight of a movie night.
June 10, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Even in his weakest movies, Woody Allen manages to make me think, and M and M was no exception. Is life really a comedy or tragedy according to the way you look at it? Probably. Will Ferrell was the surprise Woody Allen wannabee and he really pulled it off, I thought better than Woody manages to nowadays. None of these characters were anybody I liked, but I was rooting for all of them, so some magic was being performed somewhere. I look at this movie as something to be seen in the context of Allen's entire body of work, not as a single note.
March 6, 2012
Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

    1. Ellis: We're going to this little bistro in downtown west. It's very quiet, very dark, very french.
    2. Laurel: I haven't been to a dark bistro since college.
    3. Ellis: Well come on, you're going to love it. I've fallen in love there a bunch of times.
    – Submitted by justin j (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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