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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woody Allen travels into the mind of a writer, excellent!, November 17, 2000
This review is from: Deconstructing Harry (DVD)
How can I best describe the story of Woody Allen's 1997 comedy "Deconstructing Harry"? Well, I think that the film does a great job of describing itself with some of the final words of dialogue that we hear spoken by Allen's on-screen protaganist Harry Block, "It's about a really interesting character, a guy who can't function well in life, but can only function in art". This is not the first or last time that Allen has taken on the subject of creative personalities in his work, look at the jazz musician in "Sweet and Lowdown", the playwright in "Bullets Over Broadway", or the documentary fimmaker in "Crimes and Misdemeanors". But with "Deconstructing Harry" Allen seems to be at both his most self-revealing AND self-conscience as he tackles the life of a popular (but unhappy) novelist who is experiencing writers block, as well as those close to him who he has literally "used" in his work. It also seems like Allen was in a particularly dark and pessimistic mood when he concieved this piece (as opposed to say, the romanticism of "Manhattan" or "Annie Hall"), but luckily for us that pessimism translates into some hilarious darkly-comic moments. I must say that personally, I love this film and consider it among Allen's best work ever,...but I gaurantee you, it will NOT be for everybody! This film has an unusally complex style of storytelling, even by Woody Allen standards. We see Harry's life and work unfold through flashbacks, scenes from his novels, fantasy sequences, and most interestingly, conversations with the imaginary characters that he has created. Some viewers may also be turned-off by Woody's excessive use of jump-cuts in this film, as dialogue is sometimes cut off in mid-sentence, and scenes jump from one image to another. However, some words spoken by Harry towards the end of the film about his "fragmented, disjointed existence" (as the on-screen picture runs through a series of quick jump cuts), seem to be an attempt by Allen to actually EXPLAIN the film's choppy style to his viewers. I remember that when some people went to see this film in the theater (including a certain big-time movie critic!) they got completely swamped by it's unpredicable, free-wheeling narrative, but for those who are used to Allen's unique brand of storytelling will probably find it to be quite fascinating! It would be amiss of me not to mention Allen's excellent supporting cast. Elisabeth Shue (looking particularly gorgeous here!) is a sheer delight as Harry's much-younger love interest, and their brief scenes together add s real spark to the film, Judy Davis has some great scenes as a neurotic kook ex-lover who has been hurt by Harry's all-too-true work, and TV actress Kirstie Alley almost steals the show as Harry's bitter ex-wife, and a flashback to the literal END of their marriage is one of the films best moments. Allen and Alley are both exceptional in what must be the most hilarious marital argument scene ever put on film! Harry's wimpy backpeddling and self-justification when caught in an exra-marital affair is a classic Woody Allen moment! This film may not be for everyone, but for those who "get it", "Deconstructing Harry" is a great cinema experience!
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Location: Indianapolis, IN United States

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