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YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER

Director: WOODY ALLEN

98 minutes| U.S.A.-Spain| 2010| Colour| Dolby Digital Stereo| 35mm


You will meet a short bespectacled director peddling familiar themes: mortality, creative anxiety, adultery, jealousy, bereavement. An elderly husband (Anthony Hopkins) leaves his wife and disastrously beds a young actress. The anguished wife (Gemma Jones) finds solace in the predictions of a dubious psychic. Meanwhile their daughter (Naomi Watts), married to a floundering novelist (Josh Brolin) with a roving eye, is attracted to her new boss (Antonio Banderas). The Hopkins section seems predictable and patronising and the narration grates, but Allen’s exuberant use of music and colour to enliven the mood more than compensates. Above all, there are exquisite performances from Naomi Watts, disclosing a poignant vulnerability beneath her character’s poise; and from Gemma Jones, stylishly underplaying a woman going quietly mad. Reeling from a seance which might have ended a relationship, Jones delicately whispers my favourite quip in recent Woody Allen: ‘He left me for another woman . . . a deceased one . . . they’re often stiffer competition – no pun intended.’ (Notes by Neil Sinyard).

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