Rainer's Review of Another Woman
You know the kind of films you watch, kinda enjoy, and then when the credits come rolling you realize how good it actually was, and the feeling that you somehow missed to see the greatness while watching.
Another Woman is one of these films.
I centers around some days in the life of Marion Post (brilliant Gena Rowlands) who plays a philosophy professor who is working on a new book. For this purpose she rented a quiet appartment somewhere in New York which happens to be connected to a psychiatrist's office. Incidentally, she listens to a patient of this psychiatrist, and what she hears reopens old sores which she never quite acknowledged.
As the film goes on, she reflects upon her past life - her family (John Houseman plays her father and has one of the most effective scenes of the film), her friends, her past and present lovers. In dream-like sequences and/or flashbacks she analyzes her own life and relationships.
Beside the profession of its main character and the movie's themes, Another Woman doesn't feel or look like a Woody Allen film (some stylistic things like the constant voice-over aside). It's probably the most serious and earnest film I've seen from him and I can't say that I really liked it as an Allen movie.
As straightforward psychological drama it's pretty good though. It's really clever how the film presents us with the revelations in Marion's life and how we (and she as well) learn what she has done wrong in her life. All that without getting too bitter or sarcastic. It's a genuine look back in time - an evaluation of what could have been different.
We all know that Woody Allen and Death have a complicated relationship, but maybe in 1988, he first really looked back and seriously acknowledged that his life won't go on forever. Rowlands role is the typical role he usually plays in his films, but in this case, he maybe was just too afraid to take a look on his own life.
For once, he doesn't really try to raise a smile when he's confronted by age, time and death but dives into bittersweet resignation.
Another Woman is a forgotten Woody Allen film, one of his second- or even third-tier films, but I think it tells us something about the filmmaker and if we try hard enough, even about our own life.