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
When Jill is at her piano lesson and looking intently at sheet music in front of her on the piano's music rack, she is heard playing the Bach Prelude in c-minor from Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier. However, the cover of the sheet music in front of her is labeled with the name of the American composer "Henry Cowell" (in florid handwriting). 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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I saw this movie today and it was just a breath of fresh air. In this era of political correctness and the consequent surge of tragicomedies that seem to be made to drive home the point that everything in life must be serious, Woody, in his infinite wisdom, has prescribed us a style of comedy often hated, misunderstood, and forgotten: the murder comedy a la Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux. I haven't laughed this hard at someone trying to kill another person since Preston Sturges's 1948 film Unfaithfully Yours, even though it's ultimately a much more understated English style of humor (very Comedy of Manners-ish.) As such, it doesn't surprise me that Irrational Man has been hated by most critics, since they are likely to fall into the trap of expecting that this movie will be one of the aforementioned tragicomedies, and thus simply think it fails to deliver. Instead, here Woody seems to find comedy in everything from Kant to sexism to suicide to faculty gossip, and as a consequence, the movie ends up as loose as his "early funny movies," unfortunately adding just another layer that might further confuse audiences. Essentially, if you don't find the satire quick you just won't understand what you're watching. On the actor side of things, Stone and Joaquin really kill it. It almost feels like they can turn the intensity up as easily as turning a knob, and there are three moments when you really get a sense of how far they can go.
This will certainly be on a list of Woody's most underrated movies in ten years time if the bad reception it gets doesn't slow down, and I hope that people will take the time to realize just what this movie is because I think they'd really have a good time watching it.
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