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A movie I like to recommend to people who really dislike Woody Allen (because of his on-screen characters or off-screen life). And I usually get positive feedback.....he does not appear in this movie, and that makes sense because there really are no characters he could play in The Purple Rose of Cairo. It is a hugely entertaining movie--one of his best. Sharp, hilarious, and poignant. And anyone who can keep a dry eye for that ending must be a machine. This is the movie where Jeff Daniels really gets to strut his best comic stuff. He's always been underrated in my opinion. He's terrific at playing the "Everyman," but in Allen's movie he has a duel role--the clueless movie hunk who leaps off the screen to be with Mia Farrow, and the frustrated actor who plays him. Farrow is also good, back to playing mousey after her bold turn in Broadway Danny Rose. I really can't say enough about this. I would rank it as his best film of the '80s. I never get tired of watching it. I don't like using this adjective, but it seems to fit the movie....it is magical.
The Purple Rose of Cairo really does rate up there with Woody's best -
from Annie Hall, Manhattan to the earlier, more slapstick efforts, such
as Love and Death and Sleeper. Cairo happens to be one of the best 80's
movies Woody actually made - Crimes and Misdeameanours and Braodway
Danny Rose being other greats.
The reason why I think that Cairo is better than the other 80's efforts is that the idea is really inventive. The movie raises so many questions of reality and fantasy, but does so in a highly surreal fashion. The switching of scenes, from reality to fantasy (movie) made me realise where movies take us as a viewer. Cecelia finds solace in the world of movies and comes up against the decision of which is better - the perfect world of movie, or reality, where things are never certain.
Jeff Daniels is so enigmatic in this movie. Not only as Tom, the screen legend, but as Gil the actor. Two very different characters, both played brilliantly. Mia Farrow is great as usual, and shows how broad her talent is (Broadway Danny Rose and Radio Days - both very different characters. Danny Aiello is good as the lazy slob-of-a-husband, Monk.
Like Radio Days, Woody isn't actually on screen (he narrated Radio Days, mind) and in a way this eased me up. Woody is fantastic when he is on screen, but this film benefited from losing his neurotic nature, and instead concentrated on the era, the love of movies and the complex themes of a movie within a movie. I will admit, some neurosis is retained in the dialogue (talk of morality to prostitutes!) - and this added to the surreal nature of the movie.
This has to be one of my favourite films Woody has directed. Annie Hall probably being my fave, Manhattan, Crimes and Misdeamenours and Sleeper following. Cairo is so constantly fresh and inventive, I couldn't help being captivated during it's short running time. I recommend this to any fan - or any lover of movies themselves. A real treat.
Woody's stories are often derivative, but he's forgiven that, usually,
because the results are good and ultimately do deserve his signature. For
PURPLE ROSE, he swipes Buster Keaton's gimmick in SHERLOCK, JR., then lets
his imagination run free as he did in the best of his NEW YORKER stories.
We wind up with the most fascinating and realistic meditation regarding
it is to be an audience, a viewer's relationship to art, art's
to reality. The triumph is amazing, because, despite the depth of the
symbolism, PURPLE ROSE can also be seen as sheer entertainment; on its
surface, it is still one of the most entertaining pictures Woody has ever
Farrow and Aiello are marvelous here; Mia, who is quite underrated, has only been as good once -- in BROADWAY DANNY ROSE. The photography is superb, influenced perhaps by Edward Hopper with generally less obvious light sources.
Splendid, splendid work.
Woody Allen's Purple Rose of Cairo is a brilliant piece of film-making. He combines drama, comedy and even a little bit fiction (people jumping out of movie screens into the real world). Its a great story involving a woman with marital problems played superbly by Mia Farrow. Here Farrow gives one of her best performances, much better than she was in a film i recently viewed called Shadows and Fog. Jeff Daniels is also good in his role as the movie character who comes into the real world, as well as the actor who plays that role. This is by far one of the most complex yet well written Woody Allen flicks. All the performances are good as well as the direction and writing, almost everything is perfect. A must-see for any Woody fan.10/10 #60 on my list of all-time favorite films
Woody Allen's "The Purple Rose of Cairo" is a film that speaks to the
heart of anyone who has been mad about the movies. In a now-legendary
scene, intrepid explorer Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels) steps off a movie
screen and into the life of Cecilia (Mia Farrow), an unhappily married,
unemployed, movie-lover. Together, Tom and Cecilia brave the
complications of the real world, including the arrival of Gil Shepard,
the actor who plays Tom.
Farrow is sweet as Cecilia and Daniels is wonderful in his dual role. Brimming with quotable dialogue, "The Purple Rose of Cairo" toys with reality while maintaining a feather-light touch. This is a valentine to the movies, and more so, to movie-lovers.
THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO has got to be one of the most original and
inventive of all the films Woody Allen has done--and all the more
enjoyable because we're not subjected to the Allen character in the
film itself. Instead, we get MIA FARROW (one of her very best
performances) and JEFF DANIELS in what has to be the most original role
of his career, as the man who walks off the movie screen and into
Farrow's humdrum life.
Farrow is the Depression-era movie fan whose film idol walks right off the screen and interjects himself into her life--brightening it, at least for awhile, until the rather downbeat ending. DANNY AIELLO, as Mia's abusive husband and DIANNE WIEST have good supporting roles, but the story really depends on the wonderful chemistry between Farrow and Daniels--and they truly bring the bittersweet comedy and fantasy to credible life.
Furthermore, the script is not only very clever, but the film is technically brilliant in the way it has the film within a film characters on the screen interacting with the movie audience.
Summing up: Stylish mixture of comedy and fantasy, fully deserving the many nominations and awards it won that year.
THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO is a lovely, funny, and heartbreaking entry from Woody Allen that still remains one of my favorites. This romantic fantasy tickles your funny bone and tugs at your heartstrings at the same time and I go through a myriad of emotions whenever I watch it. Mia Farrow stars as Celia, a depression era housewife, trapped in a dead end marriage to a pig (Danny Aiello) whose only escape comes from going to the movies. She goes to see the movie of the title several times and then at one show, the main character in the movie (played by Jeff Daniels)speaks to Celia directly from the screen saying, "You must really love this movie, don't you?" The character then walks off the screen and into Celia's life, claiming that he loves her and wants to be with her forever. Meanwhile, the actors in the movie on the screen are stuck and don't know what to do because they can't finish the movie without Daniels' character and they are seen conversing with each other about what to do and to the audience in the theater, who for some reason, sit and watch the actors on the screen trying to figure out what to do. Further complications arrive when the character starts walking off the screen in other theaters around the country and the actor who played the character (also Daniels) arrives in town to try to convince his character to go back in the movie. Woody doesn't delve into the territory of fantasy too much, but this one totally works with one of his most intelligent screenplays and winning performances from Farrow and Daniels and the ending is a heartbreaker. A must-see.
This was a unique storyline - a character comes right out of the movie
screen to join the "real" world - at the time. I've seen several others
copy this sort of thing, although it also was done in some silent
comedies, too, if memory serves. Nonetheless, it was done well here and
I got a kick out of watching it back in the '80s. It's part fantasy,
romance, drama, comedy. Woody Allen, who made this movie, is not on
I have found (with one or two exceptions) that I like the best when he only narrated, such as in "Radio Days" and "Sweet And Lowdown." I like it when he leaves the acting to others.
Mia Farrow as "Cecilia" Jeff Daniels does a terrific job in a dual role, playing Tom Baxter and Gil Shepherd. One an actor, the other a "real-life" guy. Mia Farrow is appealing, as she usually was, as "Cecilia." Danny Aiello is another usually-interesting actor who gets your attention no matter who he is playing.
An inventive film that still holds up today.
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
There's no way you can't like the ingenuity of the movie, and the fun it has. It's about the joy of life, and love of the movies, and the difficulty to tell the difference sometimes (at least when in the theater).
In some ways this is one of Woody Allen's lightest movies, and certainly lightweight compared to the more serious movies of this period (like the stunning gem, "Another Woman"). It's not zany like his earliest comedies ("Love and Death"). And it's not deeply observant and sometimes downright moving and brilliant like his best movies (like "Annie Hall" or "Crimes and Misdemeanors"). In that way it feels like what some novelists would call an "entertainment" to distinguish from their heavier masterpieces, and sometimes these are the most readable of all. Or the most watchable.
"The Purple Rose of Cairo" is inventive, warm, and touching. It's really high brow hilarious when the people on the screen react to the situation, not only because of the existential reality shift going on, but because they are all high brow types. Then there are the everyday scenes with Mia Farrow, the lead actress in the real world (usually), and support from Danny Aiello, really just a foil for the main romances (two) going on with Farrow (singular). It's not as complicated as it sounds, which might prove the elegance of Allen's writing.
A beautiful, delicate movie without undo weightiness. Joyous, yes, even in its melancholy end.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Woody makes films about films and how they create life. Each project adopts a different set of ideas he finds, so the whole body of work is a sort of encyclopedia of notions about self-reference and folding. In a way, what films you like are determined by what set of ideas you use in your own home world of film.
This one is often compared to `Sherlock Jr,' where a projectionist enters the world of film. There is a framing element of that notion here, with Mia's fantasies. The fantasy we see is the other way around, which is more clever: the world of fiction entering the `real' world.
It's an amazing idea, until here always found in science fiction in the form of `virtual' or artificial beings seeking a more human existence. Mapping it to film is an imaginative leap. It is as if the viewer creates something that in turn creates the viewer.
Everyone lives in their own movie, and for most of us that movie controls us.
Inside that film world, Woody comes up with some clever ideas: each screen has its own world, parallel with the other instances of that film. The characters are aware of repeating each instance; some would rather be doing something else. Without a script, they are lost.
At this point, Woody was changing girlfriends, and switching therapists from Freudian to Jungian. It shows.
Ted's evaluation: 3 of 3 worth watching
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