This is it. The final one. I am finally free of my 12, seemingly neverending, months living in the pocket of Woody Allen’s bright white and middle class world. For a while there I thought I’d never make it out alive.
– For the most loyal readers, you’ll notice I’m publishing in March 2017 and not December 2016, but I’m being a cheeky monkey and backdating. This is because December got away from me there at the end and I am a completist. Soooo… Just go with it, yeah?
Woody Allen sure does love plots where you have mothers, fathers, daughters and sons all in relationships with a few random mistresses and fancy men on the side. In fact, he loves those storylines so much I’m beginning to think he’s speaking from experience. Who am I kidding, there’s no doubt he is!
So the narrative is of course ridiculous. Deep breath…
A couple called Alfie and Helena are recently divorced. They have one daughter called Sally who is married to Roy. Alfie marries prostitute Charmaine, Helena goes to visit a Psychic to learn more about her future, Helena begins an affair with Jonathan, the owner of an Occult bookshop, and Roy begins an affair with Dia, a woman he met through his window across the street.
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
Despite what you might think from the film’s title, Roy’s storyline is the most interesting. The situational comedy of being a failed writer and, ultimately, stealing a friend’s work until it inevitably crumbles wouldn’t have looked out of place with canned laughter playing over the top.
If we consider the absolutely stellar cast (Anthony Hopkins as Alfie, Gemma Jones as Helena, Naomi Watts as Sally and Josh Brolin as Roy) then the film is dire compared to the standards they should be hitting. Alas, they could do nothing to save such an empty, wishy-washy film that is about as real as the future Helena’s Psychic conjures up for her. But then again, I thought Match Point (2005) was awful and everyone loves that. So, what do I know?
The Rules to watching Woody Allen films
I have learnt my lesson. Woody Allen films can be happily consumed under certain conditions. Firstly, do not vow to watch 12 of his movies in the space of 12 months and write about them. It’s too much. You will feel sad and depressed at the state of diversity and have an uncontrollable urge to write Woody Allen a strongly-worded letter getting him to stop making films and contributing to the #OscarSoWhite world. You will need to watch a Spike Lee or Ava DuVernay movie to offset your Woody Allen footprint.
Secondly, you must be able to separate the art from the artist. I’ve never met the man so don’t speak from experience, but it’s likely he’s a complete shitbag towards women and that’s putting it lightly. Some movie goers choose to boycott his work because they don’t want to support shitbags. I quite understand why they have made this decision.
And finally, never, under any circumstances watch Hollywood Ending (2002). If you have heeded this caution and continued on your path of sin, I’m afraid I will consider you a lost soul that cannot be saved. It’s just so shit and life is too short.
A final thank you to all for following me on my deep, dark path of 12 of Woody Allen’s most touristy films in the 12 months of 2016. It’s been emotional. The emotion being anger.
Have you ever seen You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger? Did you enjoy it?