A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
Marion is a woman who has learned to shield herself from her emotions. She rents an apartment to work undisturbed on her new book, but by some acoustic anomaly she can hear all that is said in the next apartment in which a psychiatrist holds his office. When she hears a young woman tell that she finds it harder and harder to bear her life, Marion starts to reflect on her own life. After a series of events she comes to understand how her unemotional attitude towards the people around her affected them and herself. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
John Baxter's book "Woody Allen: A Biography" (2000) states that Woody Allen later commented that "the character [of Marion (Gena Rowlands) was] . . . of all those in his work [the one who] most resembled him intellectually". See more »
In the credits, Erik Satie's Gymnopédie No. 3 is listed. However, it is Gymnopédie No. 1 which is played in the film. See more »
If someone had asked me when I reached my fifties to assess my life, I would have said that I had achieved a decent measure of fulfillment, both personally and professionally. Beyond that, I would say I don't choose to delve.
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I just watched this last night, and I've been thinking about it all day. What an amazing film! So poignant, so subtle. A woman re-evaluates her life and begins to lament the choices she made years ago. Such a simple premise, such immense possibilities.
This film demands a lot of its audience. There is no humor, no action, and very little plot. Most people won't be into this at all, I imagine, which is a shame. This film offers a really wonderful perspective on a subject that is so very rarely addressed in films today: aging. This film is about a woman taking stock of her life at the age of fifty. She looks back, she sees the choices she made and how they turned out. She sees the compromises she made to get where she is today (very successful, head of a philosophy department, about to write another book), and she begins to appreciate, for the first time, what those compromises cost.
This is, in my opinion, the central tragedy of human existence. You only get one shot at life, and no one ever tells you how to manage it. So, you make mistakes, and one day, when you're fifty, you've finally learned enough to start making the right choices. But, by that time, is it too late? This film doesn't answer that question, at least not for its central character. But it does offer hope.
The film is propelled by several dynamite performances. But, even in such a crowded field of great performances, it is not difficult to pick out Gena Rowlands, who gives an unforgettably nuanced performance as Marion, the film's central character.
You may notice that this film is propelled by a number of coincidences. Every chance encounter, however, has an eerie relevance to Marion's soul-searching. It may look contrived, but it isn't. These aren't coincidences at all. The pregnant woman, played by Mia Farrow, is instrumental in setting up each of these 'coincidences', and that character's name is Hope. I was half-expecting a "Fight Club" revelation at the end, but it never came, which is good. This film could stand both ways, and it's better for the director to leave the audience to consider the relationship between Hope and Marion on their own. Like I said, I've been thinking about it all day.
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