Husbands and Wives | Chicago Reader

Husbands and Wives

Woody Allen returns to his Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters mode, albeit with many fewer laughs and a completely different filmmaking style—which just goes to show how superficial his style usually is. The story concerns the vicissitudes of two married couples who are friends (Allen and Mia Farrow play one couple, Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis the other), and the pseudodocumentary style, which occasionally suggests certain aspects of 60s Godard, includes handheld camera movements, many jump cuts, monaural direct sound, and interviews with most of the major characters by an offscreen narrator (Jeffrey Kurland). Allen's conception of character is as banal and shallow as ever, but the lively performances of some of his actors—mainly Davis, Pollack, and Juliette Lewis (as a creative writing student of Allen's who has a brief flirtation with him)—and the novelty of the film's style make this more watchable than many of his features. With Liam Neeson, Blythe Danner, Lysette Anthony, Cristi Conaway, and in a cameo, fiction writer Bruce Jay Friedman (1991).

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