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Melinda And Melinda 2005

PG-13 CC

In Melinda and Melinda, Woody Allen has chosen to return to his signature work - an ensemble piece populated by accomplished, artistic, occasionally neurotic men and women living in modern day New York whose lives become increasingly complicated.

Starring:
Wallace Shawn, Neil Pepe
Runtime:
1 hour, 39 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance, Comedy
Director Woody Allen
Starring Wallace Shawn, Neil Pepe
Supporting actors Stephanie Roth Haberle, Larry Pine, Radha Mitchell, Michael J. Farina, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloë Sevigny, Matt Servitto, Arija Bareikis, Brooke Smith, Zak Orth, Will Ferrell, Andy Borowitz, Amanda Peet, Shalom Harlow, David Aaron Baker, Christina Kirk, Alyssa Pridham, Katie Kreisler
Studio Fox
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kenneth E. Wagner Jr. on October 13, 2005
Format: DVD
It has been a while since I have wrote a review for Amazon, the only thing that could move me to do so is the hypocritical bad reviews for this film. Woody Allen is one of the last genuis directors we have. Everyone uses a seperate standard to judge his films. If this film were made by anyone else, then everyone would rave about it. This is the best film you will see this year, if you like artistic films. But some people feel this is "not up to Woody's standards." More about that later.

The film is, in its concept, more daring than 99% of the crap you will see this year, last year, or next year. Is the world comic or tragic, the film asks (in a world where films usually ask: how many explosions can I create).

Woody then gives us an interesting comic tale, and an interesting tragic tale, both well shot, well directed, and well acted. Let me repeat: both of these are IN THE SAME FILM! Woody constantly re-invents himself in an intelligent way.

The comic tale is indeed FUNNY, and intellectually so. Will Ferrell is perfect and perfectually directed to play his role, and we are not given the easy, expected storyline, but one that keeps us paying attention. In the tragic role I challenge reviewers to find a more emotional scene than the final one of Melinda's breakdown.

Antything Else was wonderful: a film with teen stars Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci in which the director gets an artistic performance out of both, a film in which intelligent TALKING, not car chases and fart scenes, dominate. But Melinda and Melinda is willing to be a pure concept film, but one in which each story is told with loving care and attention to the details of each characters humanity, capturing the magic of Woody's past films like Manhattan, Annie Hall, or Deconstructing Harry. Rent or buy it! This is our generation's Hemingway, Da Vinci, etc.
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Format: DVD
The biggest challenge facing Woody Allen as a filmmaker these days is that every movie he makes is directed by Woody Allen. As soon as his name is attached to a film people want to judge it by a different set of rules. You have a group of people who don't like Woody Allen films, they don't "get" them, and they never will. You have another group that chooses to judge Allen based on his personal life, not his work, and they've openly despised him for the last decade.

Of course, the worst group is made up of the so-called "Allen fans" who always want to compare Woody to Woody. Every film he makes is destined to be criticized because it's not as excellent as "Annie Hall" or some of his other instant classics. That hardly seems fair. The truth is that a lot of Allen's recent films would be praised if they were made by a young director on the way up, but because it's Woody Allen he's unjustly scrutinized for not making the films that other people expect. Again, this hardly seems fair.

"Melinda and Melinda" might not be a great movie, but it is very good. If you've previously enjoyed any of Allen's lighter movies, then it's safe to say you should enjoy this one. The film begins with two writers having a dinner conversation about comedy versus tragedy in life. Another diner relates an anecdote to the two men and they each claim it for their preferred genre. The movie then turns into each author telling his story. We see the character, Melinda, arriving at two different dinner parties followed by two stories that play out differently. One is a tragedy about a woman leading a cursed life and the other turns into a romantic comedy. Just as you get a feel for one story, the movie jumps to the other.
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Format: DVD
For those familiar with Woody Allen's films there is nothing radically new here; but it is a refreshingly novel approach to his familiar obsessions for fans, as well as a nice introduction for newcomers. The central conceit of the film -- that the "same" story can be told quite differently from the point of view of tragedy and of comedy -- works as a clever reminder and allusion to films like Rashomon (in which the narration of events is shown to be inseparable from the values and perspectives of the narrator) but also as an intriguing reflection on Allen's own body of work that for some time was alternating between slapstick comedy and Bergmanesque drama. His best films, like Hannah and Her Sisters and Manhattan and Crimes and Misdemeanors have alternated between a tragic core and a comic and usually hilarious undercurrent. Here Woody Allen has opted for a separation between these, and told the whole story both ways at once. As a thought experiment it is a very intriguing idea, and as a set of stories it is fairly effective though not quite as effective as some of his very best work. One very nice touch was to have the theoretical discussions about tragedy and comedy that form the backdrop of his story take place at a dinner conversation, with Wallace Shawn as one of the central figures. In this way, the discussions, which are only partially effective, can work as a modest parody (or homage?) of "conversation" films like "My Dinner with Andre" that starred Wallace Shawn. Will Ferrell does a great reworking of the traditionally insecure and neurotic character that Woody Allen plays; and Radha Mitchell gives a brilliant dual performance as Melinda and Melinda. Overall the film was quite intriguing and enjoyable; it was only disappointing to this viewer when compared with some of the best of Allen's films.
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