Another Woman (Woody Allen) 1988
It’s time for a completely random comment about Woody Allen because that is how my swiss cheese brain operates. If there is a thing I appreciate about Allen is that he does not needlessly fluff his movies. It has become the standard that a movie has to be at least 90 minutes to justify a theatrical release but if Allen’s story only goes 80 minutes then that is what he gives you. I gotta think that has to come from his experience as a stand up comedian. Even in today’s case of a dramatic movie, I think he realizes what his audience will sit for and how much a certain concept will go. This is strange coming from me because I can sit through some rather, shall we say, slow paced movies. It is just a nice change to have someone who is confident and competent enough to know how much milage he can get out of an idea even when it is on the short side.
Another Woman is about Marion Post (Gina Rowlands) whom she says right off the bat that by all outward appearances she has a very good life. Marion has a good job, good husband, and is very comfortable in her life in New York City. Marion is writing a new book when she realizes she can hear through the walls of a neighboring psychiatrist and his troubled patient Hope (Mia Farrow). Hope problems make Marion think about her life and how her happiness could be a lie.
I mentioned in my September review how it was a stock Woody Allen character film but it failed because the writing (the main focus of the film) was crappy by the standards I have grown accustomed to. Another Woman is the Jeckyll to September’s Mr. Hyde. Allen brings his A game as I was fully invested in this character study. Marion’s life unravels, and this forces her into deep introspection. We are given kind of interactive flashbacks where we see turning points in her relationships with family, friends, and lovers.
Despite the somber tone through much of the film, this is not a complete downer. Marion does come through this with wisdom and a renewed outlook on life. Once again I have to give credit to the writing which seems so much more relaxed than shoe horned as was the case in September. Marion interacting with her past gives everything so much more freedom and Allen doesn’t confine himself (both physically and artistically) in one location. Allen can bring up memories and points in conversation that wouldn’t have been easy to do with two people talking. Of course the performances sell the movie and true to a Woody Allen movie they play well against type. Gene Hackman is downright cuddly as Marion’s former lover and Gina Rowlands is low key but powerful as the controlled Marion.
This gets many comparisons to Bergman which isn’t out of line since Allen has tried copying him throughout his career. However my point is this comes close and is endearing in its own way. I had not seen this film prior to my retrospective so it was a surprise. If you are a fan of Allen’s dramatic work, I think it would be worth your time to give this one a shot too.