When Woody Allen ditches all pretense of comedy or emotion I am not a happy camper!
Written By: Woody Allen
Directed By: Woody Allen
When the natural charm and energy of Gene Hackman is rendered moot by an emotionless script I wouldn’t categorize that as a good thing. But, that is the approach that Woody Allen takes with his 1988 picture, Another Woman. This film represents the second attempt I have seen, with Interiors being the first, by Woody Allen to make a film that is so serious that it has had any and all emotion removed from its essence. I was not a fan of Interiors, and I ended up not being a fan of Another Woman.
Let’s get back to Mr. Hackman for a second, and let’s toss into the mix Gena Rowlands. Those two actors are capable of lighting the screen on fire. Both can be powerfully loud as well as tantalizingly restrained. With both of those results the key is that the actors are allowed to work within the concept of human emotion. Another Woman does not afford either actor such context from which to work.
Miss Rowalands performance dominates the film, but I can’t say it was one I was ever engaged with. She is so reserved and so emotionally absent that I could not be hooked by her character. When Mr. Hackman first popped up on my screen a bolt of energy ran through my spine. This was Gene Hackman, he had to be the man to add some life to this film. Sadly that was not to be the case, and Mr. Allen’s suffocation of any and all emotion quickly muted Mr. Hackman’s performance to the point of a strained whisper.
With emotion out of the picture the rest of Another Woman didn’t give me much to latch on to. It was well written, and like most of Mr. Allen’s pictures it looked beautiful. But, in seeking to explore the role of emotion in our lives Mr. Allen has created a film that is bereft of emotion to a fault. All the great dialogue in the world does not make up for a monotonous tone. No matter how well filmed the picture was I could not get past the barriers put in place between myself and the characters.
You can chalk up Another Woman as another completely serious film from Woody Allen that I did not care for. His fascination with seriousness appears, at this point in my exploration of his catalog, to be at the detriment of story, characters, and his natural ability to engage with his audience. I don’t need Mr. Allen’s films to be full of comedy. But, I do happen to like when they contain wit, charm, and emotion. Another Woman has none of those positive attributes and as such for its entirety it lays on the screen like a dead duck.