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It's amazing it has taken Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory, and director Louis Malle more than 10 years to collaborate again. It was worth the wait, though.
| Original Score: A
The performances are precise, the language is alive and well spoken and the setting is striking, but Vanya on 42nd Street still suffers rather heavily from the limitations of filmed theater.
Malle adeptly eases us into the play so we can't tell at what precise moment Chekhov takes over, an ambiguity that becomes the film's triumph as well as its key limitation.
There's more power here than in all the multi-million dollar fireworks of Hollywood.
The elegant understatement of this production turns it into a livelier experiment, a fluent, gripping version of one of Chekhov's more elusive plays.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
This live-wire Vanya, freshly observed for the '90s, is fiercely funny, touching and vital.
In terms of dramatic action, almost nothing happens, and yet Malle's fluid, invisible style carries us deep into the hearts and minds of these characters.
A lovely, intimate rethinking of Anton Chekhov's Russian classic Uncle Vanya.
| Original Score: 3/4
Vanya on 42nd Street may be the most innovative and successful straight film adaptation of any play.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
A film which reduces Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" to its bare elements: loneliness, wasted lives, romantic hope and despair. To add elaborate sets, costumes and locations to this material would only dilute it.