Sunday, 15 May 2011
Husbands and Wives 
Inspired from Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage, Husbands and Wives is Woody Allen’s bitter yet poignant examination of marriage among middle-aged upper-middle class New York couples. One fine day Sally (Judy Davis) and Jack (Sydney Pollack) reveal to their best friends Judy (Mia Farrow) and Gabe Roth (Woody Allen) that they are splitting up. As they had seemed to be a happy couple, this casual revelation of their’s ends up in throwing the lives of the neurotic and intellectual Roth’s into complete disarray, as beneath the veneer of happiness, their relationship too has turned into one of blasé and unfulfillment. Filled with dark and edgy humour, caustic wit, pointed observations, and poetic irony, this searing critique is a brilliant dissection of the slow disintegration and falling apart of a seemingly happily married couple. Yet, for all the punches and jabs at mid-life crisis, and the foibles, infidelity and misdemeanours that populate marital relationships, the splendid script (along with superb performances and a heady dose of on-camera interviews) surprisingly also ensures that one does a bit of soul-searching as to finding the meaning of happiness – or at least contentment – in a severely lonely, urban milieu. Ironically, at the end, while Sally and Jack decide to get back, Gabe and Judy go their separate ways. Interestingly, the film also saw the public real-life splitting of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow; irrespective of what one of many inimitable cynical one-liners from Woody’s pen states (viz. “Life doesn’t imitate art, it imitates bad television”), life does imitate art, and vice-varsa.
Note: My recent review of the film can be found here.
Director: Woody Allen
Genre: Drama/Comedy/Urban Comedy/Social Satire