Wonder Wheel Reviews
Wonder Wheel is a great character drama that can feel more like a television play than a traditional Woody featur film and thats not exactly a bad thing. Stellar performances by Kate Winslet and Jim Belushi. Timberlake has improved since his other... middling performances and Juno Temple is quite good. The story itself is kind of drab and gets a bit more bleak as the movie progresses but again it's all about the performances and character interactions here. The technicolour cinematography is GORGEOUS and brings a new and welcome flair to set this apart from Woody's others. In total this is a GOOD film - it can feel a bit long in the tooth and Timberlake botches his final confrontation scene which is a big shame but the overall drama is pretty well cooked and the ending may leave some feeling miffed and not so chipper but we love it when Woody gives us a more realistic outcome in this genre. We don't think this is as accessible as his others in recent years but it fits right in line with his 80's dramas and we do have a sweet spot for that era in Woody's filmography
Ginny is married to Humpty, but Ginny likes Mickey, who likes Ginny's daughter Carolina. This situation sends the film on a whirlwind of emotions, but all predictable ones. Wonder Wheel tells this story through an interesting narrative, as Mickey (Justin Timberlake) explains the story directly to the camera, breaking the fourth wall. I've always enjoyed this sort of storytelling, so that aspect of the movie kept winning me over, but it's the rest of the film that just felt fake to me. The uninteresting and cliched romance between the married couple in Ginny (Kate Winslet) and Humpty (Jim Belushi) feels existent so that a falling out can occur later in the movie. For all of its positives, this is a movie that just feels staged throughout every revelation.
Kate Winslet, Jim Belushi, and Justin Timberlake are all serviceable in their respective roles, but they also feel like they're giving just enough of themselves in order to earn a paycheck. Never once did I feel that any of them were giving their all. That being said, I found the standout of the film to be Juno Temple. Playing an innocent girl who just wants to start a life for herself and find love, I found her portrayal of Carolina to be quite inspired. Although she probably has the least amount of screen time, the character of Carolina is who and what I seem to remember most about Wonder Wheel.
Woody Allen writes so many movies, that I feel it's just about his time to retire. Many of his scripts feel very much like his previous ones nowadays, seeming as though his knack has met its peak. Yes, he still remains an extremely talented filmmaker, but his body of work feels more like an assembly line of average products that people may or may not consume each year. I may be alone with that specific sentiment, but it's just my honest opinion. Sometimes filmmakers make their mark and then begin to fade away and I believe that may be happening with Allen.
Looking back on Wonder Wheel, I remember enjoying the visuals and unique way that the cinematography would tell certain portions of the story at times, but the arcs of each character honestly had me bored to death. If I ever recommend this movie to anyone, it's solely going to be on the basis that they've been fans of Allen's direction from the beginning. I can't see many people thoroughly enjoying this film, because its incredibly slow pace definitely shows, even at its fairly short running time of 100 minutes. Overall, Wonder Wheel has enough solid elements to keep it from being a bad film as a whole, but there are too many distracting story points and boring characters to really recommend. This is one of the more disappointing movies of 2017 in my opinion.