A new philosophy professor arrives on a small town campus near Newport, Rhode Island. His name, Abe Lucas. His reputation : bad. Abe is said to be a womanizer and an alcoholic. But what people do not know is that he is a disillusioned idealist. Since he has become aware of his inability to change the world, he has indeed been living in a state of deep nihilism and arrogant desperation. In class, he only goes through the motions and outside he drinks too much. But as far as sex is concerned, he is just a shadow of himself now: depression is not synonymous with Viagra! For all that, he can't help being attracted to one of his students, pretty and bright Jill Pollard. He enters into a relationship with her which remains platonic, even if Jill would not say no to more. The situation remains unchanged for a while until, one day, in a diner, Abe and Jill surprise a conversation that will change the course of their lives dramatically... Written by
I love an Allen film, but this was a little too cringy for me...
Like so many, I will always go and see a Woody Allen film. If nothing else, there is something so nastalgic about the opening title sequence of white text against black background while dixieland music turns in the background (although during these credits there is a noticeably lack of music). Add Pheonix to the mix and chances are so high that the film will be enjoyable to watch. In short, it wasn't.
Pheonix sipping from a flask while driving fast in an old Volvo, black shades on - cool. But progressively less and less cool and realistic as the film goes on. How often do you expect me to believe that this professor drinks from his flask throughout the day without falling asleep or having someone say 'Hey dude, stop doing that, you're on a college campus'.
I wish I cared for the characters, but between all the abrupt cuts from one scene to completely different scene without ever feeling grounded, and the abundance of very lukewarm dialogue - 'philosophy is just verbal masturbation' (wow how witty for a philosophy professor to say)
i just never felt like I knew who the characters were, or wanted to
I was put off by the obviousness of the premise - student falls for the tortured philosophy professor. Philosophy professor is too damaged to care about anything, until he finally finds inspiration...but in the wrong place - and expected that Allen wouldn't have bothered going down that road unless he had something truly unique to add. But there was nothing, it honestly seemed like a stripped down first draft of the film with dialogue feeling so uncomfortable at times as if they didn't get a very good take but just said, 'screw, move on', i.e. people talking over one another, but in an unnatural way like they forgot the other person still had some of their line to say.
The visuals were pleasant. I enjoyed seeing Pheonix with a pot-belly and a long t-shirt, looking like an app developer. There were nice shots of a college campus, cliffs by the sea, quaint east coast house interiors, and so on. Not enough to hold my interest, and not enough for me to forgive the cringy dialogue or accept the unbelievable second half of the movie.
Anyways, I probably won't dissuade an Allen fan from seeing one of his movies, and I wouldn't want to. Go and watch it, and check it off the list.
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