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Husbands and Wives


Roger Davidson

Husbands and Wives
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Woody Allen's most controversial film so far (mainly for the hullabaloo surrounding the split-up of Woody and longtime mate, Mia Farrow around the time of release), this perceptive drama looks at two seemingly happy couples. One of the couples (director Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis) is planning on separating and this news shocks the second couple (Allen and Farrow), who thought that Pollack and Davis were great together. While Allen and Farrow ponder this new development and begin to wonder about their own marriage, Pollack and Davis search for new mates. Pollack starts going out with a beautiful aerobics instructor (Lysette Anthony), while Davis is fixed up by Farrow with a co-worker (Liam Neeson), who Farrow she really seems to want for herself. While all this is going on, Allen who teaches creative writing Columbia University, becomes increasingly infatuated with a bright young student of his (Juliette Lewis).

A masterstroke from Allen, as he delves into the insights and perceptions of marriage, romance, life after divorce and yes, a little death thrown in as well. Most of the actors put on some of their best performances ever, especially Davis as the cool-as-a-cucumber Sally, who sees this divorce as a chance for the freedom she didn't have while married. As an added bonus, Allen goes to huge lengths to make this not look like a regular Allen picture. The jumpy hand-held camera work clashes wonderfully with the turmoil going around the characters lives. There are some scenes of violent physical brutality, including one frightening moment when Pollack and Anthony get drunk at a party and then start a fight with one another. You'd think you were watching an Ingmar Bergman film, instead of the usual whimsical Woody Allen fare. For that reason alone, you should try this.

My Rating = Four Stars

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