22 August 2010

Woody Allen: Day Twenty-Six

Melinda and Melinda (2004) often finds itself grouped with Woody Allen's three previous films. It is not a fantastic film but it does have a very clever premise. Over dinner friends debate whether life is intrinsically comic or tragic. One friend proposes a story about a distraught women interrupting a dinner party and Sy (Wallace Shawn) argues its comedic merits while Max (Larry Pine) views it tragically. It is a great start to the film but both stories feel underdeveloped and I think they would work better as two whole films instead of two parts of the same film.

Radha Mitchell plays Melinda in both stories and is a real delight in both roles. In the tragedy she shows up unannounced at a dinner party hosted by a childhood friend (played by Chloƫ Sevigny) and her husband (Johnny Lee Miller). In the comedy Melinda disrupts a dinner party hosted by her neighbours (played by Amanda Peete and Will Ferrell). Each Melinda is given a different backstory but in each story we see Melinda trying to rebuild her life and find love.

I feel like Melinda is the multidimensional character in the film. She is able to exist in comedy and tragedy and she feels like the same woman but the other characters are stuck in comedy or tragedy.

Next up: Match Point.

1. Hannah and Her Sisters
2. Everyone Says I Love You
3. Manhattan
4. Bullets over Broadway
5. Annie Hall
6. Crimes and Misdemeanors
7. Radio Days
8. Husbands & Wives
9. Another Woman
10. The Purple Rose of Cairo
11. Broadway Danny Rose
12. Love and Death
13. Sweet and Lowdown
14. Mighty Aphrodite
15. Interiors
16. Sleeper
17. Manhattan Murder Mystery
18. Zelig
19. Stardust Memories
20. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
21. Take the Money and Run
22. Deconstructing Harry
23. Oedipus Wrecks from New York Stories
24. Bananas
25. Small Time Crooks
26. What's Up, Tiger Lily?
27. Melinda and Melinda
28. Alice
28. Shadows and Fog
30. Don't Drink the Water
31. September
32. A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy
33. Celebrity
34. Hollywood Ending
35. Anything Else
36. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

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