During a Thanksgiving Day party we make acquaintance with a numerous and problematic family. The leading characters are three sisters: Lee, the woman of Frederick, an old misanthrope painter; Holly, who dreams of becoming a writer, or an actress, or who knows who...; Hannah, famous actress, beautiful, intelligent, good mother, good wife, good sister, in short perfect, the pivot of the family. The balance begins to break up when Hannah's husband, Elliot, falls in love with Lee, who leaves Frederick. Holly goes through a deep crisis and meets Mickey, the former husband of Hannah, a hypochondriac TV producer. The affairs evolve and at the last Thanksgiving ... Written by
Maurizio Semolic <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The character of Frederick, played by 'Max Von Sydow', complains bitterly while watching TV that if Jesus were to come back and see what religion had become, "he'd never stop throwing up." Von Sydow played Jesus earlier in his career in The Greatest Story Ever Told. See more »
When Hannah, Holly and Lee meet for lunch, the camera zooms in on Holly right after they sit down, and begins to move in a circular motion around the table. When it passes behind Hannah, the shadow of the camera appears briefly on the back of her head. See more »
God, she's beautiful. She's got the prettiest eyes. She looks so sexy in that sweater. I just want to be alone with her and hold her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her and take care of her. Stop it you idiot, she's your wife's sister. But I can't help it. I'm consumed by her. It's been months now. I dream about her, I - I - I think about her at the office. Oh Lee, what am I gonna do? I hear myself moaning over you and it's disgusting. Before, when she squeezed past me at...
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One of Allen's best films and definitely his best performance...
"Hannah and Her Sisters" is a comedy/drama (though mostly drama) about a dozen characters and their stories, all connecting back to three sisters: Hannah (Mia Farrow), Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne Wiest). Hannah is the favorite, talented and kind, Lee is almost equally favored, but Holly is the outcast, with a past of drugs and always asking for money. Other characters include Hannah's hypochondriac ex-husband Mickey (Woody Allen), her current husband Elliot (Michael Caine), Lee's boyfriend Frederic (Max von Sydow) and Holly's friend April (Carrie Fisher).
Like I said before, this is not so much a comedy as it is a drama. The comedy that's in it fits, and is good, but the drama is better. Elliot's secret love for Lee is handled in a romantic way, but their infidelity is still seen as wrong, and you feel their guilt and inner turmoil. Mickey thinks he has a brain tumor, he finds out he doesn't and then he feels worse, and starts desperately searching for a purpose to live. All the other stories are equally dramatic, with comedy fittingly sprinkled in places too.
The acting is quite good, everyone playing their part perfectly, whether it's big or small. The film's best performances come from Allen (in what's no doubt his best performance) and Dianne Wiest as the extremely under-confident youngest sister. Allen and Wiest don't necessarily carry the film, as there's no need to, but their segments were certainly the best, for me at least. The rest of the cast put forward too, especially Max von Sydow and Michael Caine in his first (and so far his only deserving) Oscar win.
Woody Allen's direction is at the top of its form here too, much like "Annie Hall" and his other greats. The camera work and use of voice overs are excellent. For instance, there is an intensely dramatic scene where the three sisters have lunch together and for the entire scene the camera rotates around the table, the speaker not always in the frame. His script is great too, it knows when to be dramatic and when to be funny and when to be both.
One of Allen's very best, 8/10.
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