Husbands and Wives


Husbands and Wives

Critics Consensus

Husbands and Wives is a blistering, emotionally raw snapshot of two marriages self-destructing.



Reviews Counted: 40

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,144


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

One of Woody Allen's most seemingly biographical films, Husbands and Wives opens with upper-middle class Manhattan couple Sally (Judy Davis) and Jack (Sydney Pollack) announcing to their best friends, the Roths, that they are splitting up. Gabe Roth (Allen) and his wife Judy (Mia Farrow) are taken aback by their casual revelation. Jack begins dating his dim, but sexy, aerobics instructor and Sally starts up a tentative romance with Michael (Liam Neeson). Gabe and Judy begin analyzing their marriage, discovering that they might not be meant to stay together. English professor Gabe begins a serious flirtation with a student of his named Rain (Juliette Lewis) and Judy begins to have feelings for Michael. Eventually, Sally and Jack reconcile, but have not improved their relationship. Gabe and Judy end up going their separate ways. Husbands and Wives was seemingly influenced by Ingmar Bergman's Scenes From a Marriage. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

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Woody Allen
as Gabe Roth, Prof. Gabriel 'Gabe' Roth
Mia Farrow
as Judy Roth
Liam Neeson
as Michael
Benno Schmidt Jr.
as Judy's Ex-Husband
Nick Metropolis
as TV Scientist
Cristi Conaway
as Shawn Grainger
Galaxy Craze
as Harriet
John Doumanian
as Hampton's Party Guest
Benno Schmidt
as Judy's Ex-Husband
Gordon Rigsby
as Hampton's Party Guest
Ron Rifkin
as Rain's Analyst
Irene Blackman
as Receptionist
Ilene Blackman
as Receptionist
Blythe Danner
as Rain's Mother
Brian McConnachie
as Rain's Father
Bruce Jay Friedman
as Peter Styles
Jeffrey Kurland
as Interviewer/Narrator
Ron August
as Rain's Ex-Lover
John Bucher
as Rain's Ex-lover
Matthew Flint
as Rain's Boyfriend
Jerry Zaks
as Dinner Party Guest
Caroline Aaron
as Dinner Party Guest
Jack Richardson
as Dinner Party Guest
Nora Ephron
as Dinner Party Guest
Ira Wheeler
as Dinner Party Guest
Kenneth Edelson
as Gabe's Novel Montage
Michelle Turley
as Gabe's Novel Montage
Victor Truro
as Gabe's Novel Montage
Kenny Vance
as Gabe's Novel Montage
Lisa Gustin
as Gabe's Novel Montage
Anthony Nocerino
as Gabe's Novel Montage
Philip Levy
as Taxi Dispatcher
Connie Picard
as Banducci Family Member
Steven Randazzo
as Banducci Family Member
Tony Turco
as Banducci Family Member
Adelaide Mestre
as Banducci Family Member
Jessica Frankston
as Birthday Party Guest
Merv Bloch
as Birthday Party Guest
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Critic Reviews for Husbands and Wives

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (11)

  • In all respects, this is a full meal, as it deals with the things of life with intelligence, truthful drama and rueful humor.

    Mar 23, 2009

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • Allen's conception of character is as banal and shallow as ever, but the lively performances of some of his actors and the novelty of the film's style make this more watchable than many of his features.

    Mar 23, 2009 | Full Review…
  • It doesn't suffer from the compulsive tidiness of some of Allen's later movies -- the juices are flowing, the hysteria is closer to the surface -- and in this looser, more volatile atmosphere his extraordinary cast gets to soar.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • With excellent performances (Davis and Pollack in particular), it's his finest film since Hannah and Her Sisters.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives is a very fine, sometimes brutal comedy about a small group of contemporary New Yorkers.

    May 20, 2003
  • Husbands and Wives is a defining film for these emotionally embattled times; it's classic Woody Allen.

    May 12, 2001 | Rating: 4/4

Audience Reviews for Husbands and Wives


The early nineties' shift from the ideal of true love to a boon in modernized romances is very clearly defined in this very real and poignant film from Woody Allen. The film looks at the lives of two couples, Jack and Sally (Pollack and Davis) and Gabe and Judy (Allen and Farrow), who each flirt with the ideas of separation, divorce, dating, and open marriage. Each character plays off all the others so well, and the amazing performances from Davis and Farrow especially lend authenticity and humanity to an otherwise maudlin tale. The film doesn't capture the attitudes of people with everything figured out, but instead these manic, often confused, and regularly volatile people who don't understand what they want, or how to get it. At the end, the characters' motivations become clear and we see what dispassion and animosity can grant in a relationship.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

The mockumentary set-up is rather unnecessary, and some of the relationships make and break too quickly, but the script holds nothing back. These husbands and wives sure get ugly: from Sally's darkly comedic manic episodes during a blind date to Jack orchestrating an ill-timed reunion while making his new squeeze wait in the car. What this movie is though is a tour de force showcase for the acting talents of Judy Davis and Juliette Lewis. I hesitate to call them "Woody's Women" - an endearing though patronizing moniker for his ingenues - because that implies ownership, and since this is purported to be a biographical film, Rain's criticisms of Gabe's patriarchal views of females in his book may hit close to Woody's own home. Judy Davis is shrill and brittle, but sensuously so. I've never thought much of beady-eyed Juliette Lewis, but her wise-beyond-her-years creative writing co-ed steals every scene. Rain's gratitude is never insincere, and her flirtation is subtle. The long take of her placid face in the cab as Gabe insults her for being honest about his book is so great because she just takes it. She doesn't get upset; she knows she's worth it.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

Whether you are a fan of Allen or not, this film needs to be watched for the opening scene alone. When Jack (Sydney Pollack) and Sally (Sally Davis) come over for a dinner at their friend's Gabe (Woody Allen) and Judy's (Mia Farrow) house, they inform the unexpecting couple that their marriage is dissolving. This is where Allen's genius comes in. Rather than focusing on Jack & Sally, he focuses on Gabe & Judy's reaction to the news and the implications it has on their own marriage. Using a handheld, Allen invasively follows Gabe and Judy. As the camera shakes and follows the disquieted couple, you really get the sense that this news has shaken their foundation. It is a brilliant scene and in my opinion, Woody's best.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

I have decided that I will limit myself to one Woody Allen film in the films I consider my "favorites," and this shall be the one. Annie Hall may be the world's darling, but this is truly a neglected jewel in the American cinema. It's clever ("Life doesn't imitate art; it imitates bad television" haha Juliette Lewis LOVE), manipulative, and filled to the brim with memorable chracters. And my god Judy Davis is SO GREAT to watch. Her magnetism is like, arresting.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

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