Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another Woman: Grade A

Another Woman (1988)
Gena Rowlands, Mia Farrow, Ian Holm, Blythe Danner, Gene Hackman, Sandy Dennis, Martha Plimpton, John Housman. Writer & Director Woody Allen

Despairing the quality of summer releases, I went to the stacks and pulled out this gem from 20 years ago. Better acting in an adult relationship film you will not find. Gena Rowlands is an eminent college professor who overhears a conversation between a young woman (Farrow) and her psychiatrist concerning love, relationships, self esteem. This gets the professor thinking about her own life and relationships. Later we see that her relationship with her husband (Holm) is perfunctory, and although she still seeks a flame of romance, he has long since shut her out with clever words. She meets an old friend (Dennis) and discovers that relationship is not what she thought it was. She sees her husband with another woman. And on and on. Nothing happens. There are no gunfights, explosions, car chases or even much laughter. But the story does goes to the heart of modern adult relationships. Sets and costumes are deliciously perfect in the Woody Allen trademark style of wealthy New Yorkers. Every detail is perfect. Cinematography (Sven Nyquist) is stylish and perfect as always. And the acting! Gene Hackman was flat, but the others were memorable, especially Sandy Dennis. This is a movie that rewards another look.

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