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.
Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
Al, Louise, Max and Sy - four literary types who work in the theater business - are discussing what they believe to be the real life truths underlying their work, Max who writes primarily tragic plays, and Sy who writes primarily comic plays. Al proceeds to tell them a real story of a troubled woman named Melinda Robicheaux showing up unexpectedly at a door in the middle of an important business dinner party. Melinda long ago left her physician husband to embark on a relationship with who she initially believed to be the man of her dreams, which ended up not being the case. Melinda tries to put her life back together with the help of select people at the dinner party, some who have their own ulterior motives. Melinda's appearance also opens up the cracks existing in the marriage of one of the couples at the dinner party, while it leads to the dissolution of a friendship that has existed since college. With this basic outline of a story, Max and Sy try to make their point of life being... Written by
2 disparate views of the past and future from the same present.
This presentation is original and clever; very nicely twisted from the Rashamon perceptions of several disparate pasts. As usual, Woody is very perceptive and a master of dialog, especially in fracturing relationships.
I noted that the "comedy" writer was heavily focused on the tragic elements of his plot line, while the "tragedy" writer saw little humor in his plot line. Actually, the 2 writers did not seem to differ very much at all in their views. It does not appear that Woody finds life very humorous. Rather, he finds humorous elements in mundane and sad events.
More obviously, most of the characters sound just like Woody. The comedy writer might as well have been Woody and Will Ferrell is a Woody stand-in. Several of the others, including the women, had numerous "Woody" moments. It seems like the actors and even the screen are interfering with Woody's attempts to present his art. Unlike other directors who expect the actors to climb into the characters, Woody seems to ask the actors to stand still while he paints them as the characters. Would he prefer to simple do a monologue?
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