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
In the book "Start to Finish: Woody Allen and the Art of Moviemaking" long-time Allen chronicler Eric Lax shadowed him through the making of Irrational Man (2015). He writes that Allen doesn't rehearse or prepare. He does the minimum number of takes and camera setups, never does reshoots, and likes to be finished by six every evening. He barely gives his actors any instructions at all [The Guardian, Feb.2018]. See more »
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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Basically, I'll watch any film that Woody Allen makes. That said, it doesn't mean I think all of his films are top rank. His best films blend comedy, psychology, and philosophy with a good storyline. His worse fall short in one of these areas. When I first started watching the film, I thought it had all the potential of some of his better films. A charismatic, somewhat famous, professor comes to a small college. His questionable reputation intrigues and titillates students and colleagues alike. The professor (Joaquin Phoenix )is in the throes of mid-life angst and burdened by the expectations others have of him. In an attempt to recharge his life, he heads down some questionable trails.
The psychological aspects of the plot evaporate into a crime drama. For a moment, the professor becomes a Raskolnikov-like character and I began to think the psychological aspect may once again come to the fore and make this an interesting movie. Instead, this potential plot twist is brushed aside and, sadly, the rest is more or less predictable.
The acting is good enough, though the romantic relationships among the characters are shallow and not well-developed, making them somewhat difficult to believe.
Woody Allen fans may find the film interesting enough, but don't expect another Midnight in Paris or a crime story as good as Manhattan Murder Mystery. If Irrational Man was more in keeping with its title, it would have been less predictable and more interesting.
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