13 February 2008

Hannah and her Sisters

I'm not entirely sure why this movie has the status of much-loved classic, because honestly, it's pretty ho-hum. Simultaneously though, there's a kind of tenacious merit to it. While I didn't particularly enjoy watching it - not that I actively disliked it, it just didn't really grab me - I have to admit that it's a well-crafted film. There's something strange about that.

The plot seems like ready material for melodrama - you've got Hannah, the seemingly on-top-of her shit woman (who of course turns out to actually need love and support from the people around her) and her husband, who is in love with her sister, who dumps her much older boyfriend to have an affair with him. Then there's Hannah's other sister, a lovable trainwreck who ends up hooking up with Hannah's ex-husband, the hypochondriac Woody Allen who has an actual brain tumor scare. So it's a soap opera, but somehow it's not - the characters have a surprising level-headedness and depth despite their angst, and are thoughtfully portrayed. You genuinely sympathize with them, even in their less flattering moments, which is quite an accomplishment.

Then, of course, there's the Woody Allen-ness of it. The marvelous evocation of New York, which is like a beautiful love letter to the city, and of course, the Woody Allen inner monologues which, like it or not, are brilliant. He's the master of a phenomenal blend of high and lowbrow - his comedy is like fart jokes for nerds. The genius of it is to refute the notion that people who appreciate high culture are stuffy, monocle-wearing, 'oh how droll' assholes. Which also, incidentally, unsettles the idea that familiarity with the high culture canon turns one into a Great Person. What's wonderful about it is that he's NOT denying the worth of these texts, or the benefit of reading them for any given individual. Rather, he's showing that the popular idea of the intellectual is garbage, and replacing it with a more human version. Something that I (big surprise) really appreciate.

But I digress. Ultimately, the thing about this movie is that I have a hard time saying anything negative about it, and can think of plenty of good things to say about it, but at the end of the day, it just wasn't that entertaining to watch. I dunno. It's odd.

No comments: