By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders, TrailerAddict
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Damn, the Woody Allen hot streak is over. This is his third good movie in a row, so that means we’re in for a Celebrity next year. Like Deconstructing Harry followed Mighty Aphrodite and Everyone Says I Love You, Stranger may not be as clever or good as Vicky Cristina Barcelona or Whatever Works, it’s a solid Woody Allen movie that’s better than Small Time Crooks, Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Hollywood Ending, Melinda & Melinda, Cassandra’s Dream and I’d even say than Match Point.
Review: You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
First, you get Sir Anthony Hopkins as a workout nut. That’s something you’re going to want to see. This isn’t one of Allen’s gimmick movies though so there’s no fourth wall breaking device. It’s one of his relationship movies, so it might not be any new territory but it’s something he’s good at.
Tall Dark Stranger is more romantic than many of Allen’s relationship movies. Roy (Josh Brolin) references poetry and classic composers. The story is about longing from afar and figuring out your place in life. The late life crisis and psychic stuff are a little whimsical, but more in a sad and desperate way.
It’s Woody. Relationships will drift apart and there will be cheating. This take on the material is more positive and hopeful. At least he doesn’t condone the unsupportive family members. In fact, the film chastises them. Yeah! Stand up to selfish parents, Woody Allen!
It’s still got those shots where people walk in and out of the frame. It skips important parts of the story with a simple narration, because Woody Allen’s still a rebel. He doesn’t need to show you the whole story. Or he just forgot to film it.
It’s not hilarious. It’s not even necessarily witty. It’s not that kind of Woody Allen. People aren’t trying to make jokes and comments about things. Still, the audience for this type of movie laughs inordinately loud at moderately amusing dialogue.
Ultimately Stranger reveals it’s the same as all the other Woody Allen movies. It’s got an old smart man with a young flaky girl, but a mellower, less condescending version of that. Misinformation leads to ironic punishment. The usual.
The movie keeps your interest. It may not be as memorable as the classics but it’s solid. It’s a subtle relationship study. As perceptive as Allen can be, this one’s not as specific. It’s more accessible than his really personal stuff. The balance between your dreams and reality and needs and pressures is much more general than three way sex triangles, although Vicky Cristina is profound.