You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010) Poster

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Not perfect, but Allen is still an important voice
runamokprods27 October 2010
An odd film for Allen, neither an overt comedy or one of his dark serious films (e.g. 'Crimes and Misdemeanors'). This is a 'light' drama, something he hasn't done much. While far from Allen's best work, I felt more warmly towards it than most of the press, especially after a second viewing. Some of the criticisms are valid; the voice over narration feels out of tone with the film, and at times tells us too literally what we already know. Yet, in the current American cinema, how many film-makers are getting to even and try and address the complex subtle questions of grown-up relationships, aging and the fear of death, and the lies we tell ourselves to get through it all? Or deal with the paradox that humans seem to need something to believe in, and yet that same belief can also lead us astray? Or give great older actors like Anthony Hopkins and Gemma Jones really meaty roles? As long as Allen keeps asking questions, he'll remain a voice worth listening to.
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everybody has a fortune-teller
dromasca15 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Something is happening to Woody Allen ... or to me ... not clear exactly what, but I started to like more his latest films.

With this movie Allen is back in England, but there is very little Britishness in this movie excepting the setting and the opening quote of Shakespeare. To the same extent the story could have happened in Manhattan, or some other corner of Allenland. The quote that I mentioned is about the meaning of life, and it leaves nothing to fate or to higher goals in our lives, but rather a lot to chance and to trying to find a support that makes us overcome hurdles, any support, be it a dream, or a cheap superstition, or even a cheat. The Tall Dark Stranger in the title can be a handsome male the women in the movie dream about, or maybe the dark end that expects each of us at the finish line.

Each of the characters in the film finds his own cheat or lie or fraud to rely upon. Helena Shepridge (wonderful British actress Gemma Jones) is abandoned by her husband Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) and finds refuge and advice in a fake fortune-teller who tells her what she wants to hear. If her fortune-teller is a real person, the other characters can be said to have private virtual fortune-tellers of their own. Alfie marries a prostitute half his age in a vain attempt to win back his lost youth, just to find himself deceived as expected. Helena's daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) fantasizes about an affair with her rich boss gallery owner (Antonio Banderas). Her husband, Roy (Josh Brolin) unsuccessfully tries to sell his second novel, then fate and fraud combine to help him make an apparent jump ahead which allows him to dare cheat on his wife and date the neighbor in the near-by building which he observes in a Peeping Tom manner that allows Allen to quote Hitchcock. Each of the character has ups and downs, actually more downs then ups, but we are in Woody Allen movies, nobody is really hungry, suffering is existential, and despite all problems in life there is always money for good meals and whiskey.

The story can actually end at any point in time, ten minutes earlier or ten minutes later. Each of the characters goes through convulsions of fate, but the story and the film must end, as everything ends, but do not look for meanings about the ending, it just ends. The combination of skillful story telling and abrupt ending works well. As the end is not served on the tray it is the spectator who needs to fill it in with some meaning, if there is a meaning. Yet, the overall impression is of having seen a piece of life as Woody Allen understands life, and it is funny and well acted, as the actors seem comfortable enough in Woody Allen's films, they like acting here, and in some cases they give some of the best roles (I liked the performances of Brolin, Jones and Watts).

There are little things that I know about the next year (no fortune telling skills, sorry), but one if them is that for sure there will be a new film by Woody Allen on the screens. Maybe it will be about a director making one movie each year, I do not know. Chances are that I will like it.
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The perfection of Woody Allen - This is a true horror film
Gloede_The_Saint31 March 2011
The goofy comedian has always been a pessimist. True love has never existed in his films and his couples rarely find happiness together. Despite of this, his films has never been as scary as this.

What started as comedic twists and a taste of the bittersweet life has slowly evolved into a harsh, but tragically honest depiction of life. With You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger the evolution seems to have been perfected.

The goofiness is basically gone and what's left plays like a drama with darkly humorous undertones. But it might just as well play as an horror film. Tragic, raw and beautiful. It's not his best, god knows he has done a lot of great work, but it's by far his most "pure" work to date.

Is delusions the only plays you can find happiness? Is the ideas of love and friendship simply a charade we hide behind? Do we simply get bored of each other? You know there's at least some truth here, but though I'm not ready to accept it all the very thought of it gives me chills.

Conveyed with such fabulous performances, particularly from Gemma Jones, and as is often the case with Allen, one heck of a script, Allen creates the perfect atmosphere. To put it in the simplest way possible - this is pretty close to being the perfect feel bad movie.
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"We need some delusions to keep us going." - Woody Allen,
Galina17 February 2011
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, the latest Woody Allen's film is light, airy, lacy, elegant, sad, bittersweet and tender, just like a Boccherini musical piece for guitar that a beautiful young woman was playing sitting next to the window in a London apartment/flat. It is also funny, sharp, mocks the absurdity of existence, and manages to highlight the insignificance and callousness of the characters yet not to judge them while letting them search for "bell' alma inamorata", and are not we all searching? Allen is still the master of his craft, the creator of charming dra-medies. His favorite and constant themes of lives and deaths of the relationships, of growing older and refusing to accept it, of trying to postpone the inevitable meeting with a "tall dark stranger", of struggle to find the reason in a tale, "full of sound and fury", are all here. But he knows how to look at the familiar material from the unusual angle by mixing masterfully humor and seriousness, light touch and insight in the right proportions to explore the desires, longings, and motivations of the characters. One of the themes Allen was interested while working on the Tall Dark Stranger was faith in something because it is for humans to prefer the power of self-delusions over the darkness of bitter truths. He said: "This sounds so bleak when I say it, but we need some delusions to keep us going. And the people who successfully delude themselves seem happier than the people who can't." Sounds too serious but it is Allen's film, and is ironic, witty, and light. I ask myself why I love Allen's films so much and always wait for them impatiently. One of the reasons, he makes them for adults and about adults. His target audiences want to see a clever intelligent film without being manipulated or spoon fed. I admire Allen for respecting his viewers: "I never write down to them. I always assume that they're all as smart as I am . . . if not smarter". Or, more likely, I love his films because the beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and my eyes are always open to the beauty of his films. They are so perfectly constructed and framed. They look and sound terrific. While watching them, I don't understand how can they not be liked and admired by everyone? His short films are not small to me. I need them and I always will.
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Hopkins. Hopkins
beglenrice23 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is a good movie and I would watch five minutes of a Woody Allen movie rather than see 95% of the movies out there. Not to get sidetracked, but it's not ambitious so you don't have to know what happens exactly, you don't have to have it gift-wrapped, it just is, but it didn't set itself up to be groundbreaking philosophical conceptual contrived tripe. It's just a film, as Mr. Allen reminds us with his pretentiously mundane American voice-over narrator. Which turns the focus onto the characters and relationships. Which is a good place to be when you have great actors. I really enjoyed the film. But the main thing I felt compelled to say (and I haven't written anything on here in years) is that Anthony Hopkins is so good, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. It's hardly a 'crowning achievement' to his career, but it is to me, because he so earnestly and vulnerably performed this role, it defied many things (I'll name two): 1) his own career and his tendency to portray epic characters and all that intelligent bravado within.. in the movie he is completely defeated without even a proper stage, a flimsy (intentionally) comedy he has no business being in (of course he does), in which his character is confronted with mortality and insignificance, and ultimately the relevant question I know he must ask himself, and seeing him deal with that in the smallness of the medium was astounding. Truly astounding. Because also 2) He shatters the Woody Allen film formula stereotype. I was expecting the Anthony Hopkins version of Woody Allen, and there was some of that, a la Kenneth Branaugh in Celebrity. But whether it was all Hopkins or all Allen or both his portrayal rejects the typical neurotic response to Allen's comio-dramatic situations and instead shows us a golden vein of truth that for me was completely unexpected, impeccably performed and very moving. I had been a huge Hopkins fan since Nixon and in recent years had become leery of his projects to the extent I didn't bother to consider going to see them anymore. But I knew the combination of Woody Allen and he would be something special. For Allen fans, to me his acting breaks the Allen mold, crushes it, and I left the theater a bit unnerved and touched. I haven't read anyone else comment on this in a similar way and had to say something.
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Another underrated Woody Allen film
james30 April 2011
*****SPOILERS***** People who go to Woody Allen's films should know by now that Allen is an agnostic when it comes to God, and a skeptic when it comes to anything "supernatural", especially "New Agey" beliefs. That doesn't stop him from using God, religion, and New Age beliefs in his films. In "Alice", one of Allen's best films, he uses a lot of "New Agey" beliefs and supernatural events. Those people posting here who think that Allen is "endorsing" fortune-telling, psychics, and reincarnation are WAY off track. Allen is using those things to compare and contrast the "ordinary" beliefs and actions of "ordinary" people. The husband, daughter, and son-in-law think that the wife/mother/mother-in-law is "delusional" because she believes in fortune-telling and reincarnation. BUT, does she REALLY believe in those things? Or, does she pretend to because it helps her to "get what she wants" and the "blame" goes to the fortune-teller friends and/or her own "nuttiness"? She doesn't want to lend her ungrateful daughter even MORE money------blame the fortune-teller. She wants to criticize her son-in-law for wasting his life trying to become a famous writer instead of becoming a doctor------that's what the fortune-teller said. She knows these kinds of things still "sting" her ungrateful family members, but it's not because SHE is being critical or mean------the fortune-teller is saying these things! She would rather be thought of as "nutty" than "judgmental and selfish". And, she knows her husband is the "nutty" and delusional one-----he thinks he can stop the aging process and death by working out at the gym and marrying a woman young enough to be his grand-daughter. The daughter is delusional because she thinks her boss has romantic feelings for her when he has never said or done anything to give that impression. The son-in-law is delusional because he thinks he is a great writer and thinks he can actually get away with passing someone else's writing off as his own. All these "delusions" are "ordinary" ones that humans have All The Time, so we don't recognize them as "delusions". We save that judgment for the "real nutty" things like psychics and reincarnation. Allen says, why are some delusions "nutty" but others aren't? Well, I guess our OWN delusions are NOT nutty, but other people's delusions ARE nutty. Does that make us delusional? Nutty? Or Human?
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You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger At The Finish Line
Chrysanthepop26 February 2011
Set this time in England, Woody Allen once again invites us into a world of irony and people wanting 'better' than what they have as their present does not fulfill their satisfaction. The title is quite open to interpretation. It gives the impression of 'the prince charming' that straight women fantasize about and dream to end up with. However, there is also another hint which refers to the chaperon who is waiting at the finish line. Rather than exploring, this time Allen just gives us a glimpse into the lives of his key characters. All the characters are in an unfulfilling relationship. Helena (Gemma Jones) is abandoned by Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) and seeks comfort in a prostitute (Lucy Punch) younger than his own daughter. His daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) fantasizes about her boss (Antonio Banderas) while her husband (Josh Brolin) struggles to finish his novel until he peeps at Dia (Frieda Pinto), his neighbour.

While many felt the ending to be abrupt, there is a certain irony to it, where the characters who were seeking more than what they had continue to be unsatisfied, while those who were satisfied with what they had and lose it, find that happiness again (like the two idiots at the end). Allen's writing is faulty in places. For example, when Roy reveals to Dia how he had been peeping at her through their windows, instead of being concerned or excited, she acts as though his behaviour was that of a gentleman.

On the technical side, the film is well shot, in the typical Woody Allen (70s and 80s) fashion. The cinematography and soundtrack are amusing. The sets look polished but not staged.

Allen assembles a strong cast. Most of the performances are excellent. Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Naomi Watts and Lucy Punch own their scenes. Antonio Banderas too shines in a subtle performance and Josh Brolin is great as the self-centered writer. Freida Pinto was the weakest link. In all fairness, her character suffered from flawed writing.

While this may not rank among Allen's best work, it's still worth a watch especially for those who enjoyed the kind of cinema he made in the 70s and 80s.
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Fantasies and the Power of Prophecy
Claudio Carvalho9 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In London, Helena Shebritch (Gemma Jones) has a broken heart since her husband Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) had had a third age crisis and left her seeking his lost youth. She meets the charlatan fortune teller Cristal Delgiorno (Pauline Collins) and follows her esoteric advices believing in the power of prophecy. Alfie meets the younger call girl Charmaine Foxx (Lucy Punch) and proposes her. Meanwhile, their daughter Sally Channing (Naomi Watts) has financial difficulties with her husband and aspirant writer Roy Channing (Josh Brolin). Roy is graduated in medical school but has never worked as a doctor since he had written a successful first novel and decided to follow the career of writer but he never succeeds in writing a good second novel. Sally starts working in the Geller Gallery and has a crush on her handsome boss Greg (Antonio Banderas), while Roy peeps and flirts through the window with his neighbor Dia (Freida Pinto) that is always dressed in red. When Roy's poker friend Henry Strangler, who had written a magnificent novel and showed only to Roy, has a fatal car accident with their other poker friend Mike, Roy misunderstands that Strangler died and he steals his manuscript that is successfully accepted by the editor to be published.

Their lives change when Helena meets a widower that is her twin soul and Alfie finds that he is a cuckold and Charmaine is pregnant. Roy and Sally split, and Sally, who had fantasized an affair with her boss, finds that Greg sees her as a co-worker and friend only. Further, her mother will no longer lend a large amount to her to open her own gallery following Cristal's advice. And Roy, who moved to Dia's apartment, finds that Strangler has not died but is in coma instead.

"You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" is a witty and ironic tale of fantasies and the power of prophecy by Woody Allen. The black humor governs the situations that each character has to face and the price they have to pay with their fantasies and attitudes. Alfie has to support a slut as the price for his belief that he could be younger again and have a son. Sally is unmarried and unemployed for believing that her boss desires her and her mother will help her to open her own gallery. Roy is in trouble since he has built his new life based on the novel of his friend that seems to be recovering. Only the naive and irrational Helena is happy in her lunatic world and reality. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Você Vai Conhecer o Homem dos Seus Sonhos" ("You Will Meet the Man of Your Dreams")
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Lacks most of Allen's intelligent wit, but still has his subtle jabs at society
napierslogs15 October 2010
In "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" we are swiftly introduced to the complicated plot with who is married to whom, who is cheating with whom, and who is in love with whom. I found that the slowest part. I wasn't able to find much of Allen's underlying comedy in all of the criss-crossing relationships.

The comedy comes with the arrival of Charmaine (Lucy Punch) - the "actress" that Anthony Hopkins is marrying. I found it interesting that at the sight of this most ludicrous relationship, the other characters, all at various stages of mid-life crises, then pushed forward to get their lives and relationships sorted out. Allen didn't spend much time analyzing the various loves and consequences, more just saying here they are, you can laugh at them if you wish. I laughed a little bit.

I found that Anthony Hopkins and Lucy Punch stood out of this all-star cast. Hopkins' character, nearing 70, married the much younger Punch and joined a gym after suffering his mid-life crisis. Antonio Banderas played a gallery owner and I was quite impressed with his subtle comedy and muted sexual presence. Josh Brolin played the neurotic writer that Allen himself would have played in earlier years. At first he seemed out-of-place, but I think that's part of the joke, and like Banderas, I was impressed with his subtle comedy.

I am a Woody Allen devotee, and although I found "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" lacks most of his intelligent wit, it still had his subtle jabs at his characters who each represent facets of today's society. And I still recommend it because it's better than most other films you can find.
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sometimes the fans lose perspective
A_Different_Drummer24 October 2015
I realize that his many fans feel Allen can do no wrong but this film stands as a mute rebuttal to that point of view.

The low rating reflects not necessarily the production values (which are almost perfect even though the film is horrid) but the blow to "media ecology" that the planet must endure when an artiste WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER wastes talent like it grew on trees.

The "magic" here is that somehow Allen coaxed some of the best actors on the planet to give one of the worst performances of their lives.

Don't know where to start. Brolin, he of the broad facial testosterone markers, plays a simpering wimp. Watts, who almost never looks lost in a role, acts like she would rather be somewhere else. Hopkins and Bandiaras are playing variants of role they have played many times before, which suggests that, if nothing else, you are better off watching those performances, not these.

And the trademark Allen voice-over, an egoistic affectation if ever there was, serves the same role as the Surgeon General's warning on a pack of cigarettes.
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Fun charming movie
smango-874-46513518 October 2010
Excellent, charming movie that tracks the ups and downs of middle aged and older couples. It is not going for huge explosions or plot twists, so if that is what you like, this isn't for you. But i found it resonated emotionally and is also quite funny. a recurring theme is the stories we tell ourselves (and others) to let us go forward, through several examples. all in all: i say, ignore the jaded critics and go see it. highly recommended. Also - in my opinion - requiring ten (10) lines of text to rate a movie is crazy. i won't rate anymore, but felt strongly enough about this one that i wanted to add a dissenting voice and a dissenting vote. this addendum gets me to the required 10 lines.
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A horrible and very disappointing movie
Argemaluco4 February 2011
While You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger was boring me to tears, I was thinking that the work from director and screenwriter Woody Allen has been one of the most constant elements in my various decades as a film lover. Every year (more or less), we have a new movie from this filmmaker, and even though he disappointed me in various occasions, he deserves respect for his vision and his perseverance, even when that vision falls under the standard of what we can expect in a movie made by him. In other words, various of the "bad" films directed by Allen are not bad in the absolute sense; they just seem bad when we put them into the context of his filmography. However, I think there are two exceptions in his filmography which are horrible movies under any standard we evaluate them: Anything Else and now, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, which lacks of any of the focus, intelligence and humor Allen uses to show in his movies, at the same time that it erratically wanders in search of a conclusion which should supposedly illustrate us about its intention and its message. Sure, Allen warns us from the beginning of the movie that there may not be a concrete point in here, because the narrator of the story quotes the famous Shakespeare's phrase: "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing". However, I do not think that is an excuse to tell such a poorly written story like the one from this movie.

The story from this movie may sound as a comedy, or as a drama about marital crisis and romantic disappointments. However, the problem from You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is is nothing. There are some vaguely humorous moments and serious scenes, but after all, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger lacks of a defined purpose or, for the case, a specific objective in order to validate so many characters and so many conflicts. Needless to say that the classic subjects from Allen are present in this movie: insecurity, neurosis, fear of old age...but something which was absent was the narrative "glue" in order to naturally integrate them to the story, instead of appearing as a collection of vaguely interconnected scenes. Some people may say that the real life is like that, unpredictable and lacking of any logic in various times, because it is not subject to the will from a screenwriter. If that was Allen's intention, I have to say that he made a "real" movie, without a beginning or an end. Pity that it was such a tedious and uninteresting movie.

The cast from You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger includes various excellent actors (Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Gemma Jones, Philip Glenister, Pauline Collins, Fenella Woolgar, Celia Imrie and Christian McKay), but I did not find any of them to be credible in their roles. I do not know if they were badly selected, or if Allen did not offer enough direction for them to adapt to the tone required by the movie. The result is that all the performances feel if the actors feel uncomfortable in their roles.

In conclusion, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is a very bad movie which in my humble opinion, represents the lowest point in Allen's career so far. The huge disappointment I took with this movie is not only because it is in the context Allen's career, but also because, on a simpler level, the movie is terribly boring. I hope Allen recovers from this disaster in his next movie.
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So 'The Grass Is Always Greener'--Big Deal
bob-790-19601826 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Four people venture outside their marriages into affairs that promise greater excitement, fulfillment, whatever. All behave foolishly or recklessly in the process.

One dumps his aging wife to chase after young women and eventually marries a hooker so preposterously crude and stupid that you look forward with relish to the misery that is sure to plague him.

Another is a self-absorbed one-hit novelist who fritters away his days while his wife works for a living. He sponges off his mother in law while treating her with contempt. Eventually he poses as an accomplished novelist and convinces a woman about to be married to dump her fiancé. To prove his prowess as a novelist, he steals a manuscript by a more talented friend who is in a coma and submits it to a publisher as his own.

The third, his wife, assumes that her married boss has a thing for her when in fact he is having an affair with her friend.

Only the fourth, the mother-in-law, ends up reasonably happy with her new love--and she is completely batty.

Some of Woody Allen's hilarious humor would have helped us to forget the fact that none of these characters shows the slightest trace of real emotion or is even likable.

This movie is really a cold fish.
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No real there there
steve_koenig23 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The movie's theme seems to be, as one character states, a bunch of stuff happens but in the end it has no meaning. In the old days, Woody Allen could have made this into a hilarious dark comedy. But now he just makes a movie in which a bunch of stuff happens and, ultimately, it has no meaning.

I can't recall any of the characters seeming likable or interesting, but at least a couple of them seemed intended to seem so.

He does still have his devoted followers who seem to like anything he does. But the boring characters (some from TV sitcoms) and same music played over and over just made me wish the film would end. I didn't laugh once, and as I left the theater I didn't ponder anything other than why I'd paid money to see this movie. It did have some potential, but in the end there was nothing.
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Sound and Fury Signify Nothing
David Ferguson10 October 2010
Greetings again from the darkness. Sound and fury signify nothing. The narrator begins the film by reminding us of Shakespeare's words. I can't decide if this was a confession by Woody Allen when he realized the movie fits that phrase. I have followed Mr. Allen's film career since the early 70's and have learned that sometimes disappointment follows. Of course, there are also times when pure screen magic occurs and that makes the journey worthwhile. Unfortunately, there is no magic here, just sound and faux-fury.

Here is a convoluted recap of the story: Elderly woman Helena (Gemma Jones) is dumped by her doesn't want to admit he's aging husband Alfie (Anthony Hopkins). He tries to be a swinging bachelor and ends up marrying a gold-digging call girl named Charlamaine (Lucy Punch). Helena looks for guidance from Cristal (Pauline Collins),a fortune teller referred by Helena's daughter Sally (Naomi Watts). Sally is married to Roy (Josh Brolin), a morally bankrupt one-hit wonder in the novel-writing business. She works at a very successful art gallery run by Greg (Antonio Banderas). Sally and Roy yell at each other a lot and Sally has eyes for Greg, who instead has eyes for Iris (Anna Friel), a painter Sally discovered. Roy has peeping eyes for Dia (Freida Pinto), whom he can see from his bedroom window.

So, you get the idea. It is actually a set-up that fits perfectly with a Woody Allen film. A madcat story where no one is happy with their life and they each seek proof of their worth. Interesting that they seem to have some security with their current partner, but it's just not enough. The cast is stellar, and London makes the perfect setting. However, nothing really clicks. Manly Josh Brolin just doesn't wear neurosis well. I didn't enjoy watching Naomi Watts yell at people. Anthony Hopkins' character is such a pathetic re-tread that it really annoyed me. Mr. Allen obviously finds Freida Pinto appealing because her character gets perfect lighting and comes across as a victim, despite dumping her fiancé.

Despite all the turns in these sub-plots, only one of the stories really has any finality to it. Now I don't mind endings that leave much to the imagination, but I do get irritated when it appears the filmmaker just lost interest. Even when that filmmaker is Woody Allen.
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About j z a p p a's review
CosyCatNap13 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Shame! User j z a p p a copied an analysis of the movie by rewriting it. It's on the Psychology Today site and was written by Ilana Simons - and is very good.

These are only 3 examples from j z a p p a's review and Dr Simons's piece - compare:

S More, it's about the misguided ways in which we all deal with the fact that one day, as the writer Roy in the movie says, we're going to meet the "tall dark stranger" who is not a lover but the grim reaper. vs JZ More, it's about the imprudent manner in which we all cope with the truth that one day, a character in the movie says, we're going to meet the "tall dark stranger," not a lover but the grim reaper.

S Then there's Roy, a writer, who wants to live forever by writing novels. When he sees the limitations in his talent that would keep him from historically lasting fame, he steals a novel from a dying man, to cheat his way into public memory. vs JZ Brolin longs to achieve immortality through his work. When he sees the limits in his flair for it that would hinder him from enduring renown, he steals a novel from a dying man.

S There's a color-based counterpoint in Alfie and Helena, too. Both appear throughout the whole movie in white outfits. Alfie's white comes to represent the medicinal sterility of his desire to live forever; Helen's white represents her growing affinity for the angels. vs JZ There's a color-centered counterpoint in Hopkins and Jones, too. Both appear all through the film in white clothes. His white comes to characterize the therapeutic unproductive of his longing to achieve immortality, hers her budding adulation for the white light.


People, you get easily caught in the age of the internet. Don't be a prick, don't COPY.
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Woody Allen still remarkable!!
mariaecia4718 January 2012
This films makes me wonder about Woody Allen's perceptive views on a quick visit to London and all what is really happening at the moment in this society of glorious diversity in all aspects of life. The inability of reaching out to the nearest and dearest. The daughter tantrums and nastiness when finances are concerned were nothing out of the norm nowadays. There is a portrait of how insular people are whenever there is someone close in need of emotional support. Money is destroying all possibilities for people to mature emotionally. The mother was very entertaining. Dia was an eternal over protected daughter who may not experience adulthood fully as her family will be sucking her energy whenever they get a chance. The midlife crises of both husbands, with money or not, were very much a cry from Woody Allen's brotherly love to manhood. Who needs a happy ending for all characters when there is so much to be confronted and understood?
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Interesting but ultimately a let down
perkypops5 February 2012
As with most Woody Allen screenplays there are moments of sheer delight in what is essentially a comedy of errors based around the notion we are always at our best when things are going for us. The story essentially revolves around the lives of Helena and Alfie, Roy and Sally, and Charmaine, Dia and Greg, the latter three representing the catalysts for changes in fortune and demeanour. The essential hook upon which lives change is, in this film, implied to be wishes if not spoken aloud then certainly "notions" lying only just beneath the surface. We observe the bad sides of people when things are going wrong. These hooks should come about through a kind of synchronicity about which Jung would have approved, but in this story, and in my opinion, the manoeuvres seem rather too obvious, predictable and unsubtle. This kind of lets the whole core message of the film down since grown ups should know how the cookie can crumble.

The story is not played out as a farce, but as a comedy drama with romantic overtones, and the acting is assured and capable throughout with Gemma Jones (as Helena), Anthony Hopkins (as Alfie) and Lucy Punch (as Charmaine) taking the honours. It is a pity the screenplay is so uneven because there are some excellent exchanges between the characters along the way. Essentially what ruined the whole plot for me was a failure to exact true closure on the whole affair which I took to be the reason for a rather rushed end. Perhaps Mr Allen wanted me to feel let down with all the character demeanour exchanges but I just think he ran out of ideas.

Worth a glance but not vintage Allen.
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Awesome as usual
lanzarishi9 January 2011
My love for Woody Allen's genius as seen through his movies just keeps getting deeper and deeper. First off, the casting here is phenomenal, it just couldn't be better. I couldn't stand at least two of these actors before seeing them in this Woody film but now they rate, (in my book anyway), that being Ms. Pinto and Mr. Benedaras. The two elder British actresses here blew me away as did Naomi Watts as usual. Her beauty, capacity, and craft are just amazing. Not to mention Anthony Hopkins who is flawless thru-out. Also, I cannot help noticing how each new movie Woody Allen releases carries with it something from a previous one, be it a song, a concept or some colour, sort of like a musical concept album that all ties in somehow. It is so deep in fact, that I am starting to feel the effects of some kind of spiritual occult power that Woody Allen possesses. He is THAT good! At its base though is always an incredible innocent humor, the one quality that makes all the harsh ugly realities of life enjoyable and worth living. This film isn't anything new or unique but it is another piece of the jigsaw in one of the most beloved Director's valuable creative archive. Thank you Woody for giving us a reprieve in this abyss of suffering!!
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Woody Allen excels again
Gordon-1119 December 2010
This film is about a family of mother, father, daughter and son-in-law, who go through various stages in their lives, creating an ocean of emotions that they have to deal with.

"You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" tells the superficially wonderful life of an old man, who feels his life slipping away as he grows old. He leaves his wife, causing her to become neurotic, depending on a clairvoyant to sooth her nerves. Their daughter is trapped in an unhappy marriage, while her husband is dying to prove himself that he is still worthy of something. Given such well developed and convincing backgrounds, "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" can only be a great film on character analysis. There is not a moment of boredom, all the characters are attractive and engaging in their own way. In true Woody Allen style, the characters are quirky, yet interesting and adorable. The characters are not as paranoid as in previous films, which is a departure from his usual style. It is still a great effort, and I enjoyed watching it a lot.
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Maybe It's Time for Woody Allen to Stop Making Movies
evanston_dad21 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know who Woody Allen is making movies for anymore.

Maybe someone who's never seen a Woody Allen movie before would enjoy this film. Everyone else will instantly recognize the same tired themes that he's explored ad nauseum, not to mention the numerous plot points that rip off his own movies. There's a lot going on in "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger," none of it interesting. It exists in a strange limbo: the characters and their problems aren't compelling enough to make for engaging drama, but nothing about the film is funny either. Only one plot point, that involving a struggling writer who passes off another writer's novel as his own and then finds out that not only is the other writer not dead (as he thought) but is likely to emerge from his coma, has dramatic possibilities. Allen could have done something dark and rich with that storyline, along the lines of "Crimes and Misdemeanors" or "Match Point," or he could have gone the screwball comedy route. He doesn't do either.

It's not really worth mentioning the cast, since they're all wasted, but it includes Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Josh Brolin and Antonio Banderas. The only memorable performance comes from Lucy Punch as a low-class hooker/wanna be movie star, and though the plot she's part of is just an unfunny rehash of "Mighty Aphrodite," a fresh breeze wafted across the screen whenever she made an appearance.

Grade: C
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Another trip to Woody Allen country
Red-1253 March 2011
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010) was written and directed by Woody Allen. Even if you didn't know that, you could guess it pretty quickly. In Woody Allen country, nobody stays in a love relationship if someone better comes along.

Alfie Shebritch (Anthony Hopkins) is an older man married to Helena (Gemma Jones). He decides to have a (somewhat late) midlife crisis, finds a bimbo, and leaves his wife.

Meanwhile, their daughter, Sally Channing (Naomi Watts) is leaving her husband Roy (Josh Brolin) because she has fallen in love with Greg (Antonio Banderas).

Meanwhile, Roy . . .

Allen has the clout to surround himself with these fine actors, and his movies--including this one--demonstrate his complete command of the medium. The problem is that he's writing and directing the same romantic comedy over and over.

I saw the movie on DVD and it worked well on the small screen. I think it's worth seeing if you're in the mood for fine actors in a lightweight comedy. If you're in the mood for more than this, find another film.
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Woody's new look with new cast and new way of editing
Moobee12 August 2011
great script as always embedding with woody's insight to spot on the truth of human nature, it's wonderfully true. Funny to see that 100% of the characters in the story are all mess-up in the way they live their life, with lies, hurts, ignorance, fear, denial, confused, wonderful character studies in this script, and daring of Woody to try a new way to end the film, new way to edit the story, much mature it is. I personal sees that the case might be the reason this film doesn't deliver to what it had been able to, but also, it is the evidence too that Woody is like Picasso in movie, Picasso is never afraid of painting, he paints almost every day and he never intends to make each painting a master piece, he just paint, as a painter's vocation, he tried all the mediums, he try move away from getting use to one look in his paintings, so within thousands of picasso's painting, there are enough master pieces to make him the Great, and that's how I see Woody, he is a brave film maker, he never cares too much about what people say, he never stops to write and to film, he never stop to try new cast, new career move, if the location is done with New york, fine, London, and Muses come and go..fine, try to film another one till he finds one and he did, he had all these great actresses to work for him in his lifetime and this time, he comes to a new group of casts, though it's not delivering as the other group of talents, it's a new look on Woody's never-ending -trying career, and I am sure, he is going to always get the GREAT Work soon or later and his film would never be the last one, he is always producing, it is just to live, you will always meet another new stranger...
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Vintage Allen
pf94 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Woody Allen starts and ends his movie by quoting Macbeth's monologue in Shakespeare's play, in which he sees life as "…This tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/Signifying nothing."

This movie seems to be saying that with all the setbacks this idiot mercilessly visits on men and women alike, the only way to cope with the unfolding of his tale is by going charmingly bonkers. The prime example for this is the character of Helena (Gemma Jones in great form), the hard-drinking suicide-manqué, who, under the guidance of a charlatan seer, comes to terms with it all by believing she had had earlier lives in French settings. She succeeds in happily connecting with one of the ugliest and most meshuge men to be found anywhere on the British Isles these days. Everybody else in this movie, has a goal that is frustrated by reality, and the sparks of conflict all this generates ignite the plot.

Particularly, Helena's unhappily married daughter Sally (Naomi Watts), like Flaubert's Emma Bovary before her (and there can be no doubt that Woody Allen deliberately plays on this precedent), goes to a performance of "Lucia di Lammermoor" with Greg, a man who wants to start having an affair with her (Antonio Banderas, better directed, and better made up than in any movie since he left his native Spain). Though strongly attracted to Greg, Sally does not yield to temptation, only to later deeply regret her post-operatic resistance, and head into a messy divorce and a major reversal in her career. No earlier lives for this modern woman!

Amusingly, the scene in which Sally does not respond to Greg's advances takes place in a fancy Audi on a London street, while the corresponding scene in which Madame Bovary does accept Léon Dupuis' advances takes place during a most famous ride in a horse-drawn carriage along the streets of Rouen.

Like in all Allen movies, there is a character clearly designed to be played by the director himself. For reasons hard to understand, Woody Allen has not cast himself in this movie but has opted for Anthony Hopkins to play the part of Alfie, I guess Michael Caine was not available. There is one scene in particular in which this extremely fine British actor executes a series of gestures which are clearly the same Woody Allen would execute at this point. This is funny indeed, but I would have preferred to see Allen himself at this point.

The movie sparkles with Allen's marvelous wit, and one can safely ignore all the nonsense about this movie The New York Times has seen fit to print. To my mind, "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" is vintage Allen.
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A Sad Commentary About Human Nature
FilmRap17 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
– We have always been willing to see Woody Allen movies if for no other reason then to see where his head is at. He always comes up with an interesting group of characters who are struggling in great angst in which we can some way identify with or at least understand. This time he gives us various configurations of couples who are each having trouble with their relationships and for the most part they each have some very wishful fantasies. The oldest couple has split because Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) feels he should have relationship with hot young blond (Lucy Punch). His disappointed wife Helena (Gemma Jones) falls under the spell of a fortune teller (Pauline Collins) whom she believes hook line and sinker. Helena then falls in love with a widower Jonathan (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) who needs the permission of his dead wife to marry her. Alfie and Helena have a daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) who is married to Roy, a doctor (Josh Broslin) who doesn't practice but is trying to produce a second novel rather than a family and prefers looking out his apartment window at Dia (Freida Pinto), a beautiful woman whom he is convinced would be the perfect partner for him. The doctor – now writer's wife really imagines that she would be better off with her art dealer boss (Antonio Banderes). If she can't have him she would hope that her mother would lend her money to open her own art gallery but the mother doesn't think the stars are aligned right. There are many more twists and turns in this study of the human psyche. There is also a narrator to the movie (Zak Orth) who really doesn't tell us very much. Allen has a writing style that gives the audience a feel for who are these people and the dilemmas they face from their own point of view. The problem is that when all is said and done, we didn't really care that much about any of the characters despite the unique story and a great cast. There were some good comedic moments but overall it is a sad commentary about human nature. (2010)
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