Having recently turned fifty, Marion feels that she has led a so far blessed life. The well-respected Dean of Philosophy at a women's college, she is currently on sabbatical to write her latest book. Although her first husband Sam died tragically fourteen years ago from a mixture of alcohol and pills, she has recently remarried to Ken, who, married at the time, pursued her, while Ken's writer friend, Larry, also professed his love for her. She has a good relationship with her step-daughter Laura, seemingly better than Laura has with either Ken or Laura's own volatile mother, Kathy. Between her and her brother Paul, Marion always had the attention of their academic father. And she and Ken have a wide circle of friends with who they regularly and willingly socialize. But a series of incidents with these people in her life makes Marion wonder about the decisions that she's made, most specifically whether her cerebral and judgmental nature has been alienating to those around her. One of ...Written by
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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Rowlands is a revelation, and the film matches her.
Devastating, unlike anything I've seen from Woody Allen so far. This was a very quiet, deliberately paced exploration into a woman facing a mid-life crisis, played with extraordinary skill by Gena Rowlands. It leaned maybe a little too much on narration when it could have utilized her talent as an actress instead, but that's a small complaint when the final result is so powerful.
Rowlands' Marion Post rents an apartment in order to work on her novel and, through hearing the patients of the psychiatrist's office next door, slowly begins to examine her life and the choices that she has made. We see her interact with those surrounding her, be it her husband, her daughter, her brother, but she always feels a level removed from all of them. Over the years she has isolated herself from everyone around her and examines them rather than interacts, and Rowlands plays this with a knowledge so fitting and serene.
There's an extended dream sequence a little over halfway through the picture that is one of the most surreal, emotional and illuminating experiences I've had in a Woody Allen picture and one of my favorite moments in the twenty or so films of his I've seen. It imagines her life as a stage play that she watches take place, and it opens the world back up to Marion, which is displayed in master strokes on the all-telling face of Rowlands. She gives a performance for the ages here, working mostly from the inside out, although there are a few devastating scenes of her letting herself fall apart.
I was surprised at how little Mia Farrow was in it, given that she's on the cover for it and the plot synopsis makes her part seem a lot more major, but she manages to leave an impression, although the most surprising of the supporting cast was Gene Hackman. I'm used to seeing him (and loving him) in varying crime pictures, so it was nice to see him take on a more grounded and every day character, which despite only appearing for a brief time he manages to leave a lasting impression with his emotionally conflicted portrayal. You can really feel this character that he displays, feel his love and heartache in every breath.
Still, the film absolutely belongs to Rowlands, who resonated so deeply inside of me and will surely stick there for a while. She knocks it out of the park in a film that is so unique, cerebral and magnificent from Woody Allen.
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