News / Arts & Entertainment

Woody Allen's Latest Movie Takes Darker Look at Life and Love

Left to Right: Naomi Watts as Sally and Josh Brolin as Roy
Left to Right: Naomi Watts as Sally and Josh Brolin as Roy

Multimedia

Audio
Alan Silverman

In his 40th film as director, Woody Allen revisits themes of life, love and mortality that he has examined before; but this time the humor is a bit darker and the characters, perhaps, more desperate.

Helena, played by Gemma Jones, seeks out a psychic fortuneteller to help her understand why Anthony Hopkins as Alfie, her husband of more than 40 years, has left her to take up with a much younger, woman named Charmaine.

Sally is married to Roy, who wrote a hit novel, but has been unable to repeat the success. Their relationship grows tenser by the week and meeting sexy Charmaine doesn't help.

Perhaps Roy is living a bit vicariously through Alfie's romance; struggling to write, he finds himself staring out the window at the pretty young woman in the flat across the way.

As their stories intersect in the London neighborhood where he set the film, writer-director Woody Allen says the characters confront issues he has explored before in more serious films like 1978's "Interiors."

"This film is an attempt to deal with the same subject, but to deal with it in a more comic way," explains Allen. "The subject matter is still the inability of people to relate to one another, people needing some kind of certainty in life, people deluding themselves into some sense that there is some purpose to life or that there is some extra meaning to life when, in fact, it's a meaningless experience …and yet in the end even faith in anything at all is better than no faith at all."

Anthony Hopkins as Alfie
Anthony Hopkins as Alfie

Josh Brolin co-stars as unsuccessful writer Roy who seeks inspiration in the arms of a woman who is not his wife.

"It is not the most redeeming character out there," admits Brolin. "When I watch it I just want to slap him a lot. You know, 'the grass is greener on the other side' and he is constantly looking 'over there' for notoriety and fame and all of that."

Allen says Roy will seem familiar to fans of his movies.

"That's a typical kind of character that I would write: someone who fancies himself an artist and struggles with it and doesn't live up to his promise," Allen says. "I feel that's the autobiographical strain in the movie. I also feel it is autobiographical with Anthony Hopkins. I'm older, probably close to his age, and these problems of a life more in the past than in the future torment me all of the time. That is a problem that recurs in all of my movies  …or many of them …since I got older."

Allen turns 75 December 1, making him two years older than co-star Hopkins.

Josh Brolin as Roy
Josh Brolin as Roy

"We have all gone through our mid-life crises. I'm just glad I don't have to do that again, but I understand poor Alfie," Allen says.  "He is just caught up in this nightmare, but he makes a big mistake and then everything is taken from him: a marriage is destroyed, his wife is very upset by it. That happens. That's life. People do that and men are dogs. I have to say it: we are a rum lot. Never trust a man."

But writer-director Allen trusts the audience to accept his somewhat unorthodox decision to end the film by not ending its multiple stories.

Left to Right: Naomi Watts, Antonio Banderas and Woody Allen
Left to Right: Naomi Watts, Antonio Banderas and Woody Allen

"I feel that life, unlike Hollywood movies, does not tie up all the loose ends," the director explains. "Life is unresolved, confusing, bewildering, puzzling, ambiguous …and that you don't really know what's going to happen. The future is uncertain for everybody, so that is how I had seen the end of the picture. I didn't want everybody to neatly wrap up his or her story with a nice "MGM" ending. I wanted the people to wander around in agonizing limbo …like in real life, really."

British screen veteran Pauline Collins plays fortuneteller Cristal. You Will Meet A Tall, Dark Stranger also features Naomi Watts as Sally. Antonio Banderas plays her unbearably handsome boss. Freida Pinto is Dia, the object of her husband Roy's desire; and Lucy Punch is her dad's flame Charmaine.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."