26 September 2009

Then there were five: "So you should never put bananas in the refrigerator!"

Woody Allen, whose large body of work includes some very fantastic films (Annie Hall, Manhattan, Crimes and Misdemeanours, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) has perfectly matched his film making style with the musical genre in his film Everyone Says I Love You. Roger Ebert, my favourite film critic, lists this film among Allen's best. Woody Allen aficionados know that music has always played a crucial role in all of his films, with the use of jazz music played during in most opening credits of his films. A movie musical seemed to be a perfect way for Woody Allen to merge his love of music (he is an accomplished clarinettist) with his own films. Woody Allen also has a definite knack for casting, and this film is no exception. He is known to often cast the same actors in multiple films, but in Everyone Says I Love You Alan Alda is the only actor of the main cast to have appeared in a previous film The film stars Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore, Goldie Hawn, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, and Allen himself. Natasha Lyonne has the arduous task of being both narrator and star of the film.

Natasha Lyonne plays Djuna "D.J." Berlin, who narrates a story of the love lives of her family members through the four seasons of a given year. All actors in the film were asked to use their own singing voices for the film, except for Goldie Hawn (who was asked to sing worse) and Drew Barrymore (who believed her singing voice to be too inferior and was dubbed). D.J. narrates use through the relationships of her family. We watch her father (Allen) as he tries to win the affection of a woman (Julia Roberts) in Venice, while in New York her sister Skylar (Barrymore) become engaged to Holden (Norton), and her twin sisters (Natalie Portman and Gaby Hoffmann) as they experience young love. The musical numbers of the film showcase the trials and tribulations of love across generations and the film is tied together through D.J.'s own personal revelations about love.

Everyone Says I Love You is not my favourite Woody Allen film (stay tuned to see which of his nearly 40 films wins that honour), and there are a good number of films that could have won the spot as my second favourite, but this is a special film that leaves you with a great sense of hope that everyone is capable of finding true love. Natasha Lyonne's performance ties the film together in a wonderful way and her tone of voice is perfect for a film that showcases the ups and downs of love. Beyond the music and characters, the film also showcases two of my favourite cities: Paris and Venice. There are two of the world's most beautiful and romantic cities. The music used in the film are mostly classical standards and will be very familiar to those who watch this film. There will be times that many of the songs become stuck in your head, even after not having seen the film for weeks and another viewing is needed. There are many scenes that combine Allen's masterful skill of direction with the music that one cannot hit the rewind button quick enough to watch the scene again!

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