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
Rita enters Abe's apartment from a driving rain, yet her clothing and hair are dry. See more »
Kant said human reason is troubled by questions that it cannot dismiss, but also cannot answer. Okay, so, what are we talking about here? Morality? Choice? The randomness of life? Aesthetics? Murder?
I think Abe was crazy from the beginning. Was it from stress? Was it anger? Was he disgusted by what he saw as life's never-ending suffering? Or was he simply bored by the meaninglessness of day-to-day existence? He was so damn interesting. And different. And a good talker. ...
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A tight script? Check. Capable actors? Check. Lots of witty dialogue? Check. A jazzy soundtrack? Check. Beautiful photography in idyllic settings? Check.
Yes, all the ingredients are there. Just leave it to the 79-year old chef to create a delicious dish out of it. When everything is right, a Woody Allen movie is a delight to watch. And with 'Irrational Man', this is absolutely the case.
Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone are clearly enjoying themselves as the grumpy philosophy professor and his admiring student and lover. Allen's script plays in a lighthearted way with serious philosophical concepts such as guilt, evil and righteousness. Also, he throws in a murder mystery and makes the suspense last until the very end.
'Irrational Man' will not be one of Allen's greatest movies, because it lacks an extraordinary element like Cate Blanchett's performance in 'Blue Jasmine', or the historical dimension of 'Midnight in Paris'. But even without such an extra ingredient, 'Irrational Man' shows an expert craftsman at work. In a couple of years time, it might just turn out to be one of his most underrated films.
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