Saturday, July 18, 2015

Woody Allen's other fantasy

I'm glad to see that at least one movie reviewer picked up on the obvious self-serving fantasy in Woody Allen's latest movie, and I'm not talking about the standard older-man, younger woman scenario. Says Matt Zoller Seitz at rogerebert.com:
There's an unnerving arrogance to the script's lack of polish and shape. The movie seems to think we'll care deeply about its characters simply because they're on screen saying and doing things. This attitude is merely irritating until the film's near-midpoint, when "Irrational Man" evolves from Allen's umpteenth older man-younger woman romance (troublesome enough, given that Abe resists Jill over and over until he can't anymore) into a murder conspiracy. Abe and Jill are out at lunch when they overhear a woman in the next booth tearfully telling her friends about a corrupt family court judge. Allen has of course been plagued by accusations that he molested Dylan Farrow, the young daughter of his ex, Mia Farrow, and at points along the way he has asserted that the judge in his own custody evaluations was incompetent and ethically compromised. Abe becomes obsessed with murdering the family court judge because doing so would rid the world of an evil, worthless man, and strike a blow for justice far beyond anything Abe could accomplish as a writer, and nobody would be able to trace the crime back to him because he and Jill have no personal connection to the case.

The result plays like Allen's daydream of murdering the judge who kept him apart from the girl he had been accused of molesting. This is nestled inside what feels like a more familiar, self-justifying fantasy about Allen's affair with his wife Soon-Yi, Farrow's daughter with conductor Andre Previn. One needn't have a opinion, informed or otherwise, on Allen's private life and alleged crimes to find this scenario repugnant—not just because it all seems on first glance blatantly autobiographical, but because Allen keeps it at arm's length, and wrapped up in lush imagery and jaunty music and plausible deniability, as he tends to do.
Although I did enjoy this line from the NYPost review:
Newly arrived at a Rhode Island college campus, Abe is a potbellied and impotent alcoholic. This being an Allen movie, women find him simply irresistible.
Although let's face it, many movies these days pair older male actors with younger female actors as this immortal article in Vulture: Leading Men Age, But Their Love Interests Don't.

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