February 15, 2008

another woman (1988)

For the final film in his unofficial dramatic trilogy (Interiors and September the other two), Woody Allen wrote and directed perhaps his finest dramatic film to date, Another Woman.

Another Woman
revolves almost entirely around an amazing lead performance from Gena Rowlands (Woman Under the Influence). Rowlands plays Marion, a highly regarded author and professor of philosophy who has just turned fifty. She has managed to live nearly her entire life without giving emotionally of herself, and she seems to have no knowledge of the pain and hurt this has caused those around her. Hoping to find a quiet place to work on her new book, Marion rents an apartment, only to find that she can hear conversations from next door, coming through her vent. She becomes fascinated with these conversations between a psychiatrist and his patient Hope (Mia Farrow), hearing problems that echoed her own at one time. The eavesdropping eventually triggers a chain of events that leads to a self-examination of Marion's own life and character.

We are shown her husband, played by Ian Holm, her step daughter (Martha Plimpton), a possible lover she once rejected (Gene Hackman), her brother, and many other people from Marion's life. Each scene reveals to the audience more and more about Marion, the emotionally bankrupt woman who has placed all her energy into her work, and has had none to give to the people around her that she should have loved.

Another Woman is a truly fascinating film, fully delivering the Bergman-esque potential that Allen had demonstrated nearly 10 years earlier with Interiors. The plot is remarkably similar to Bergman's Wild Strawberries, and Allen sought out and aquired Bergman's famed cinematographer Sven Nykvist (Cries and Whispers) to shoot the film. The film is visually gorgeous, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally charged. The best of his serious works, Another Woman is essential viewing.

anonymous review

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