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.
Over a meal in a French restaurant, Sy poses a conundrum to his fellow diners: Is the essence of life comic or tragic? For the sake of argument, he tells a story, which the others then embellish to illustrate their takes on life. The story starts as follows: A young Manhattan couple, Park Avenue princess Laurel and tippling actor Lee, throw a dinner party to impress Lee's would-be producer when their long-lost friend Melinda appears at their front door, bedraggled and woebegone. In the tragic version of what happens next, the beautiful intruder is a disturbed woman who got bored with her Midwestern doctor-husband and dumped him for a photographer. Her husband took the children away and she spiraled into a suicidal depression that landed her straight-jacketed in a mental ward. In the comic version, Melinda is childless and a downstairs neighbor to the dinner hosts, who are ambitious Indy filmmaker Susan and under-employed actor Hobie. Back and forth the stories go, contrasting the ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Winona Ryder was originally cast as Melinda, but was forced to drop out because no agency would insure her due to her famous arrest for shoplifting. Woody Allen stated in the book "Conversations with Woody Allen" that he wanted to cast Ryder, but he couldn't get a bonding on her. See more »
In one of the beginning scenes for the "drama" version of Melinda's tale the battery pack for her microphone creates a very noticeable bulge in the lower back of her shirt. Whenever she stands up from leaning on the kitchen table the bulge turns into the shape of a square. See more »
They still talk about my portrayal of King Lear. I played it with a limp.
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It's curious how after having been apart for a good many years, Mia Farrow and Woody Allen seem to surface in this movie, playing the central roles. In casting Rhada Mitchell and Will Farrell, the director gives the Mia character to the young Australian actress who has an uncanny resemblance to the young Ms. Farrow, and his alter ego is played by Mr. Ferrell. The best thing Mr. Allen did in this film was to cast someone else to play the role he always gives to himself.
The idea of "Melinda and Melinda" is not bad. However, the situations, even if they are theatrical, at heart, feel fake. The resolutions of the issues in both aspects of the drama, or the comedy, being discussed by some local intellectuals at Pastis, the restaurant, don't produce a logical conclusion. In fact, both stories playing at the same time, have a way of disorienting the viewer.
The casting doesn't help either. Rhada Mitchell, is out of her league playing Melinda. Will Ferrell as Woody Allen, please! The talented Chloe Sevigny and Chiwetel Ejiofor do what they can, but we just don't believe for a moment about their situation, nor do we care what happens to these bunch of pretentious Manhanittes that are one dimensional at best.
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