Director: Woody Allen

113 minutes| U.S.A.| 1998| Black and White| 35mm

An interviewer and failed novelist with a mid-life crisis (Kenneth Branagh) walks out on his marriage to a highly-strung teacher (Judy Davis). He attaches himself to the Manhattan celebrity circuit, memorably encountering a predatory movie star (Melanie Griffith), a narcissistic super-model (Charlize Theron) and a deranged heartthrob (Leonardo DiCaprio).

This is Allen’s Stardust Memories for the ’90s, a satirical look at the way the pursuit and seduction of fame shreds integrity and warps personality. If Branagh’s performance registers essentially as an Allen imitation, Judy Davis’ transformation from nervous mouse to assured TV star is a comic tour de force. There are some darkly funny moments, notably when Branagh decides to break off a relationship at the precise moment the movers are actually delivering the furniture, but the predominant tone is sour and angry. Dreaming the impossible dream has rarely looked less enticing.

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