Deconstructing Harry

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 37


Audience Score

User Ratings: 22,205
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Movie Info

Woody Allen wrote and directed this comedy about turmoil in the erotic and creative life of immature New York writer Harry Block (Allen), who calls himself "spiritually bankrupt." Harry has gone through numerous lovers, three wives, and a half-dozen psychiatrists (including one he married). With a plot structure inspired by Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries, Harry must travel to upstate Adair College to receive an award, but he can't find anyone to accompany him. Recent girlfriend Fay (Elisabeth Shue) has decided to marry his best friend Larry (Billy Crystal). Harry asks her to reconsider, drop Larry and come back to him. His friend Richard (Bob Balaban) can't commit to the trip because of heart problems. Harry wants his small son Hilly (Eric Lloyd) to see him honored at Adair, but Hilly's mother Joan (Kirstie Alley) steps in to prevent this from happening. Former sister-in-law Lucy (Judy Davis), angry after finding their secret relationship detailed in one of his novels, arrives at Harry's apartment carrying a weapon. Throughout, scenes from Harry's novels and short stories (inspired from Harry's real-life situations) are intercut: In a scene from one book, Ken (Richard Benjamin) fools around in the kitchen with his sister-in-law Leslie (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss). In another book scene, Paul Epstein (Stanley Tucci) marries his psychiatrist Helen (Demi Moore). Other scenes come from his short stories, including movie actor Mel (Robin Williams). With turndowns from all his friends, Harry eventually heads for the college with black prostitute Cookie (Hazelle Goodman) and Richard. Allen described the script before he began shooting: "I'm going right into the teeth of it. It's about a nasty, shallow, superficial, sexually obsessed guy. I'm sure everybody will think-I know this going in-they'll think it's me." The title suggests a reference to Deconstructing Sarah, a 1994 British thriller. Jazz standards punctuate the soundtrack. Working title: The Worst Man in the World. Shown at the 1997 Venice Film Festival.


Critic Reviews for Deconstructing Harry

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (10)

Audience Reviews for Deconstructing Harry

  • Apr 25, 2013
    Deconstructing Harry is by far Woody Allen's darkest and most revealing movie, and it doesn't exactly paint a flattering portrait of him, but it's also funny (although not his funniest) and has a great cast and interesting style that make it worth seeing for fans of Allen.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2011
    I know Woody Allen is supposed to be this wonderful director, and his movies are studied in college film classes all the time, but I just don't get the attraction. I do see where Larry David gets his inspiration for loud-mouthed, annoying characters who can't seem to shut up. I swear I have tried to like Woody, but he just annoys me far too much. An all-star cast is mostly wasted in this, as the only actor who appears on-screen for more than ten seconds at a time is Woody, a man in love with the sound of his own voice. Please don't ask me to watch any more. I wanted to scream at this guy to just shut up and keep it zipped!
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Dec 01, 2010
    This is Allen doing a comedic and absurd take on Bergman's 'Wild Strawberries'. It's hilarious, experimental, smart, and filled with enough one-liners to fill several films. An Allen classic from the 90's. As far as flat-out comedy goes, this film is s huge winner and its wacky narrative and side stories are all captivating.
    Jonny B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 12, 2010
    It might be the darkest and most self hating of Allen's comedies and I mean that as a compliment.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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