Monday 3 January 2011

Hannah and Her Sisters [1986]

A critic had famously said in a New York Times review that Hannah and Her Sisters established Woody Allen as an “urban poet of our anxious age”; but then, hadn’t that already been established when he made such masterpieces as Annie Hall and Manhattan. A vignette of his beloved New York, like the other two movies mentioned above, this film was an incredible examination and elucidation of the complex, tragi-comic existences of some of the city’s dwellers. The plot is principally about three sisters – the stable and talented eldest sister Hannah (played to perfection by Allen’s muse Mia Farrow), the desperate and neurotic middle sister Holly, and the disillusioned-in-love youngest sister Lee, as well as a host of characters like Hannah’s literature-loving husband Elliot (Michael Caine) who has fallen for Lee, and a hypochondriac TV producer Mickey (played by Allen only the way he, and no one else, could), among others. The film examines a host of issues ranging from infidelity and bitterness to love and familial relations, with an abundant amount of dark but brilliant humour and incredible wit. Consequently, despite the presence of heavy themes, the film is immensely charming, intelligent, funny and poignant. The memorable vignettes of Manhattan apart, this immensely personal film cemented Woody Allen’s position as perhaps the cinematic equivalent of Bob Dylan.

Note: My latest review of the film can be found here.


Director: Woody Allen
Genre: Drama/Comedy/Urban Comedy/Social Satire/Ensemble Film
Language: English
Country: US

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