Radio Days - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Radio Days Reviews

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December 24, 2017


[Woody Allen]
November 10, 2017
One of Woody Allen's best films, Radio Days is a lovingly detailed and authentic portrait of a 1940s childhood in Rockaway Beach, NY, cleverly built around memories of the popular music of the day, which was universally listened to on the radio. The conceit works, and the result is one of Allen's least neurotic, least pretentious, and funniest works. It's interesting that it's a thoroughly Woody Allen movie in which Allen doesn't actually appear, though he does a running voice-over. I'd recommend it even to people who don't usually like Allen movies.
½ September 5, 2017
A nice, upbeat movie about the good old radio days, this isn't Woody Allen's best film, but it's certainly up there.
May 25, 2017
I had higher hopes for this after seeing The Purple Rose of Cairo, which I loved. Sadly it had the same monotonous feeling as many of Woody Allen's other films. Too boring. (First and only viewing - 5/25/2017)
½ August 20, 2016
A man reminisces about his youth, growing up in the 1930s and 40s in New York. We see and hear stories of himself, his parents, neighbours and friends and local celebrities. The common denominator in all the stories and in the overarching plot is the presence of the radio - it brought music, news, stories, escape and comfort, made stars of everyday people and was often the glue in families and relationships.

A wonderfully sentimental, nostalgic and funny homage to radio from Woody Allen. Though the story in the movie doesn't fit his life story exactly you can see how it could be very close to it. It's also a history lesson, as many of radio's seminal moments from the 30s and 40s are covered (eg Orson Welles's War of the Worlds). Moreover, the broad feeling of nostalgia for a time and experience that cannot be relived and retrieved is very palpable and emotional.

It's not all sentimentality though. The movie largely consists of episodes and vignettes from the narrator's memory. Many of these scenes are absurdly funny (Mia Farrow with the gangster takes the cake, but the prize-winning burglars aren't far behind). Allen allows his imagination to go wild, and it takes him to some wonderfully offbeat places.

Performances are great too. No Woody Allen himself (except as narrator), but we have a young Seth Green effectively playing Woody Allen as a child, and doing a solid job. Good work too from Julie Kavner and Michael Tucker as his parents.

The supporting cast is huge, due to the many mini-stories within the movie, and includes many Woody Allen favorites: Mia Farrow, Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello, Tony Roberts. Some only have one or two lines (or, in Diane Keaton's case, one song). Nobody puts a foot wrong. William H Macy and Larry David, unknowns at the time, have minor, non-speaking parts.
½ July 31, 2016
A fantastic movie. People living their lives in 1943. The family is very funny and very real. I enjoyed the radio personalities the best. And kinda wished for a little more in depth exploration into their lives. I'm not a huge Woody Allen fan. But this is one of his better works.
½ July 18, 2016
It's one thing for a film to make you nostalgic. It's a completely different thing for a film to make you nostalgic about an era you've never even witnessed. In "Radio Days," Woody Allen implements spot-on production design and soundtrack coordination to fully recreate this truly beautiful era from afar. But in addition to this, his film also soars upon the wings of an atypical narrative structure - a "patchwork-quilt-style" of storytelling, if you will - that really instills a sense of authenticity within the audience. At the end of the day, you really do feel like you have spent a few years with all these brilliantly-drawn characters. An incredibly reverent and sentimental slice of Americana that everyone should see.
July 5, 2016
This isn't the most profound Woody Allen movie but with him doing the narration which includes many memoirish sections it is thoroughly soaked in his personality, sense of humour, and genius. The film is a fractured collection of stories involving Allen, his family, and radio personalities all linked by that early communication technology which has faded in importance--the radio. It's nostalgic, funny, bittersweet, and humane.
May 19, 2016
This film was another one of Woody Allen's autobiographical films and I liked it quite a bit. The film doesn't have just one story and some of the side stories don't even really fit in that well, but it somehow all still works. I actually liked a lot of the little side stories more than the main family's stories. The cast is really solid and there are a ton of famous people who do little cameos in this as well and that added to it. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this film and checked off another Woody Allen film off my list.
February 26, 2016
Radio Days is amongst my favourite Woody Allen movies, made when he was at a creative high. It is an accessible and warm hearted comedy telling the story of a young Jewish boy, growing up in 1940s New York. Interwoven with his story are those of his extended family and the numerous stars of the radio shows that they enjoyed listening to. As with many of Allen's films, there are some strong female roles and Radio Days is no exception. Joe's mother is played by Julie Kavner, his lovelorn aunt by Dianne Wiest and a young cigarette girl with aspirations of radio stardom by Mia Farrow. Joe himself is a young Seth Green and he makes for a very likeable central character, all wide-eyed and up to mischief. There's an obvious affection for the subject matter here and the gentle script pokes fun at, but never mocks the heyday of the radio serial or society programmes that filled the airwaves with fantastical tales or celebrity gossip. There are some genuinely funny moments as the overcrowded family try to emulate the radio stars or their lifestyles. This is a tender, nostalgia trip which I've seen many times, each time I find much to enjoy and laugh at and I always get a warm glow of satisfaction after watching it.
½ February 24, 2016
This movie may be a love letter to a long lost moment in time, but there certainly isn't much to it. There are a few laughs to be had, but I can't say it is worth watching. Possibly for die hard fans of Woody Allen only.
February 11, 2016
Vignette-y and slight, but also incredibly warm and charming.
January 12, 2016
A funny and quite charming story.
December 19, 2015
A nice nostalgic piece that's not really as intimately focused on anyone as much as Allen's other films, but that's kind of what makes it stand out. There's a resemblance of Fellini's "Amarcord," here, running off the sense of a group of people at a certain time and age, but combined with the natural hilarity of Allen's style. It's combined with comfort, touching moments and laugh-out-loud dialogue.
½ December 17, 2015
Not Allen's best work but still an amusing set of humorous, personal vignettes with a stellar cast.
October 7, 2015
Woody Allen's love letter to a bygone era of radio broadcasting. Seeping with nostalgia and memories, this a great period film which seeks to capture the quirks and scandals of the radio industry, while simultaneously showing how the radio was a linchpin of the working class household. The story flits between a handful of main characters through a series of vignettes, accompanied by the classic Woody Allen narration.
While I can more easily relate to the romanticism of other Woody Allen classics such as Annie Hall, or Manhattan, there is a certain charm to the story as seen by a reminiscing boy looking back through rose-tinted glasses.
½ September 21, 2015
Woody Alen plays Joe, who narrates his childhood growing up in the days of radio and WWII. The following is a simple coming of age tale that has a cast of wonderful characters, and that's it. There's no big family scuffle or drama, its just a nostalgic view of that time period. Its more drama than comedy, but a very accessible film for all.
August 18, 2015
Superb, one of Woody's finest. The soundtrack, the sets, the cast.. everything is perfect! A great introduction to Woody Allen for those that have not seen any of his movies. In my opinion, on a par with Annie Hall and Hannah.
Super Reviewer
August 11, 2015
Remember the good ole days before the internet? Before even television? Radio was the dominant technology and Allen nostalgically recalls not only the simplicity of those times but how the emerging tech was already shaping the dreams, thoughts, and thus the lives of the listeners. The subject is really too big for the time alloted and so the overall feeling is scattered, but the idea is there, and very nearly resonant.
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