Writer/director Woody Allen delivers a powerful, "searing adult drama" (Leonard Maltin) examining the life of an accomplished philosophy professor teetering on the brink of self-understanding. Boasting a superb cast led by... more » Gena Rowlands, Mia Farrow, Ian Holm and Gene Hackman, Another Woman is Allen's 17th triumphant film. Stylistically rich and technically expert, the film layers past and present, dialogue and narration, reality and metaphor, to achieve a "lucidity and compassion of an order virtually unknown in American movies" (Time). Intelligent, accomplished and happily married, Marion (Rowlands) considers her life fulfilling until a chance encounter with a troubled stranger (Farrow) offers her a brief but piercing glimpse at her inner emptiness. Drifting in a loveless marriage and denying her feelings for another man (Hackman), Marion is shocked when she accidentally learns of her husband's (Holm) infidelity. Taking this as a sign to change her life, Marionconfronts the true depth of her own emotional hunger and the frightening intensity of a passion shehas ignored for too long.« less
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 06/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"`Another Woman', written and directed by Woody Allen, is his third and, I believe, last totally serious film, following hard on `September' and several films after his first drama, `Interiors'. Like both earlier dramas, and unlike most of his comedies, the locations are strictly limited to a few interiors and a few nondescript street scenes. The cast may well be the most distinguished ever assembled in an Allen movie, headed up by Gina Rowlands, Gene Hackman, John Houseman, Mia Farrow, and Ian (Bilbo Baggins) Holm. The second rank of actors alone would light up a lesser movie, including Blythe Danner, Betty Buckley, Sandy Dennis, Harris Yulin, and David Ogden Stiers. Some of these well-recognized names and faces such as Blythe Danner and David Ogden Stiers appear in a single scene with but a handful of lines. Even John Houseman has but one scene on camera and about a half dozen lines. It is unusual that while Stiers will appear in several later Allen films, the only actor who has appeared in Allen's earlier films was Farrow.
This movie refutes all modest claims on Allen's part to not being an intellectual. His background dialogue and scenes are chocked full of references to high German culture, including the poet Rainer Marie Rilke, the playwright, Bertolt Brecht, the philosopher, Martin Heidigger, and the Viennese painter, Gustav Klimt. These are certainly not gratuitous references, as the principle character Marion, played by Rowlands is the chairman of the Philosophy department at an important college in or near Manhattan who, as the film opens, is beginning on writing a book on philosophy, probably a history or analysis of a major philosopher's work rather than an original work. Marion gets her intellectual heritage from her father, played by both Houseman as an old man and Stiers as a younger man, who is an important professor of history.
This intellectual landscape may not be convincing if it were not for Allen's most successful use of one of his most powerful devices of mixing the worlds of reality, imagination, fiction, and dreams. While this conceit is pushed over the edge in `Deconstructing Harry', it is used subtly and to great effect in this movie. The reality is the emotional turmoil of Marion's life based on a marriage which began in illicit liaisons and which is now in crisis based on its own weakness and the strain put upon it by novelist / suitor Larry (played by Gene Hackman), who adds to the reality / fiction theme by stating that he has used Marion as one of the characters in his latest novel.
Marion, her husband (Ian Holm) and her best childhood friend Claire (Sandy Dennis) all seem to be raw nerves where the least provocation set them off into arguments over their relations. One can add that most of this is due to the fact that they are seeing an illusory view of their relations, or, are being driven much more by emotion than by reason.
Mia Farrow's role, Hope, in this movie is odd. She was scheduled to play the Gena Rowlands part until she became pregnant with her son by Allen, Satchel. Thus, like her role in the comedy `Radio Days', her part is something of a sidebar until near the end of the movie, when her character meets Marion. Appropriate to the name `Hope', contact with Farrow's character is the device that brings Marion out of the emotional turmoil.
Like `September', we seem to come upon the characters in the middle of their lives, live through an especially difficult episode in their lives, and leave them just as they barely manage to get their heads above the emotional waters that engulfed them. There is no sense that there is a great renewal that will magically improve their lives from now on.
The cinematographer for this film is the great Swedish Ingemar Bergman collaborator, Sven Nykvist. As most of Allen's other lensmen were no slouches in their own right, the change is not immediately apparent. The camera work seems to maintain it's usual very high quality, with a distinct softening in color. Most things seem to be in warm shades of brown and tan, rather than the jarringly prominent reds and greens you see in film color nowadays.
Rowlands' performance is every bit as good as her considerable reputation would lead one to expect. Farrow's performance is much like her soft spoken `Rosemary's Baby' and `Purple Rose of Cairo' persona rather than the very strong presence she give for `Broadway Danny Rose' or `Radio Days'.
Due mostly to the richly imaginative emotional world of the principle characters, this is a movie one can watch many times over and still get new things from the interactions between the strong personalities brought together here. If you had no feeling for `September' and `Interiors', then don't bother with this film. But, if you really like Allen's movies and have not seen either of these other two dramas, then I suggest you start with `Another Woman' and move on to `September' if you like this one.
Unlike virtually every other director I like, such as Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott, Allen seems to show gradual growth and improvement over the years. Some of his later movies are weaker than his best early ones such as `Annie Hall' and `Manhattan', but on average, he gets better with age, and this is one of the best signs of that growth.
Highly recommended to Allen fans and film drama fans in general. "
"You should be the actress"
Sebastian Fernandez | Tampa, Florida United States | 03/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are several aspects that make this movie excellent, including the intelligent dialogues, the psychological aspects of the narration and the fact that a complex story can be presented in only eighty minutes. These are some of the reasons why Woody Allen is considered by many to be one of the most gifted directors ever. Of course, those that usually do not like Allen's style will not find solace in this movie, but the rest of you will probably appreciate the quality of this production.
Marion Post (Rowland) is a philosophy professor who is taking a leave of absence to write a book and who has rented an apartment to be able to do this peacefully and without any interruptions. The apartment is next door to the office of a psychiatrist and she realizes that she can hear the sessions through the air vents. At first she covers the vents to prevent invading the patients' privacy, but later she hears the sad voice of a woman (Mia Farrow) after one of the cushions covering the vent moves from its place. From that moment on she is hooked and cannot help herself, so she continues eavesdropping into the sessions of the mysterious woman.
Marion starts identifying herself with some of the accounts of this woman and understands that she may actually be dissatisfied with her life too, mainly with her choice of husband and career. From that point forward the psychological aspects of the story become the central focus around which the action revolves. The dreams, memories and reality of Marion's life interact with each other, making us doubt at times if certain events are really happening or not. The final result is an interesting look at the psyche of the main character and her relationship with others.
As it is usual in Allen's movies, there are coincidences galore with chance encounters that reunite old friends and current acquaintances, but the story remains believable all the time. One of the most notable aspects of the film is the outstanding cast, with Rowland playing her role to perfection and other renowned actors and actresses adding their fair share. The performance of Gene Hackman is praiseworthy, and even though his participation is fairly brief, he leaves a lasting impression. If you have not seen any films by Woody Allen, this one is as good a place as any to start."
AWESOME is an understatement...
Jack-O-Lantern | San Francisco, CA | 12/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an absolutely awe-inspiring film from Woody Allen.
Not in any way a lighthearted romp, this is rather a soul-wrenching film which literally forced me to re-evaluate my life, as it does on each subsequent viewing (of which there have been many).
Not giving away any plot details, suffice it to say that Gena Rowlands is simply magnificent here. In a mere 80+ minutes, you will be convinced, as am I, that this is one of our greatest living actresses and a true legend (for another great Rowlands performance, do not miss Cassavettes' earlier "A Woman Under the Influence").
If you are in any way thoughtful and/or introspective about your life and what you've accomplished (or haven't accomplished), do NOT miss this. Also: be prepared to look at yourself not as you perceive yourself, but rather as OTHERS see you, which (for me anyway) was very disconcerting but also extremely enlightening.
This is one of a handful of truly great modern dramatic films which literally raised the bar for all filmmakers to come."
Gena Rowlands and Sandy Dennis--Legends
Collin Kelley | Atlanta, Georgia United States | 11/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think I may have reviewed the video version of this, but it won't hurt to review it again. The extras on this DVD are fairly useless, but who cares? It's just fantastic to have a sharp digital copy of this classic film. It's my favorite by Woody Allen (just behind Interiors, Crimes and Misdemeanors and Annie Hall). Of course THE reason to watch this film is the great Gena Rowlands and Sandy Dennis. Yes, folks, it's dark and depressing and sometimes painful to watch. The dialogue could have been tweaked, but my, oh, my when it works it is devastating. The encounter between Rowlands and Dennis (who play estranged friends) at a bar is one of the best written and acted scenes ever committed to celuloid. This was Sandy Dennis' last film and she tears through that moment with such visceral rage. The complexity of this one scene reverberates throughout the film. Rowland's character, Marion, is a by-the-book, emotionally cold college professor. Through wonderfully observed flashbacks (that defy time and logic really)we discover that Marion was once a passionate artist and student and now all that is buried under a thick layer of delusion. Her life and the things happening around her are not what they seem, but she is has deluded herself for so long that it all slips by her. The supporting work here is, of course top notch. Gene Hackman is brilliant as a man who once loved Marion, Ian Holme is letter perfect as her proper husband, Betty Buckley has a one scene cameo that sets the tone early on for much of the story. One of the best movies ever made."
A Spoilt life.
firstname.lastname@example.org | England | 11/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Many people boast about having no regrets; some even sing about it. These are almost always successful people, people who have been given a large slice of luck (in the form of, above average intelligence, talent, presented opportunities, parental support and encouragement, and nurturing early experiences.) and have made the right decisions in early life. Of course, if asked to account for their success they will almost invariably say, "Hard work." Part of the answer no doubt, but far from the whole. To have regrets seems to many people to be faint-hearted and self-pitying; it means looking back from an unhappy present and thinking, "What might have been, if only I had done such and such instead of......Marion. (Gena Rowlands), the protagonist of this film, an outwardly successful and well respected University Professor, has reached the age of fifty without having any self-doubt; she is proud of her achievements and her life-style - or so she has convinced herself. Until one day, in a room she has rented in which to write a book, she hears a woman's voice coming through the ventilator shaft from the psychiatrist's surgery next door. This voice awakens her to her present condition and causes her to question her life. She comes to realise that some decisions she had made in the past, and some of her actions, have brought misery on herself and others. She drove her first husband to suicide by refusing to give him the child he desperately wanted - the child she wishes she now had; she stole her present husband away from his first wife; she alienated by her behaviour both her best friend and her brother; and, worst of all, she refused the offer of love and marriage from a good, warm-hearted, generous man, Larry (Gene Hackman), in order to remain faithful to her cold unresponsive husband Ken (Ian Holm), who she later discovers is unfaithful to her.
("How can you do this?" she says to Larry, "He's your friend." "Yes." replies Larry, "He is my friend and I love him. But he's a prig and he's cold and stuffy."
Can such a person be loved?) She now regrets all of this - but too late. She must now live with the consequences - with the unhappiness she has brought on herself and others. She realises that a successful career and the respect of colleagues is not enough, that her bad choices in life have made her into a sad and disappointed woman.Woody Allen was determined to make a deeply serious film without a hint of humour. And he has succeeded. The whole complex film is quietly depressing and is told in such a way, with flash-backs, dream-sequences, and voice-overs, that you have to keep your wits about you to follow the densely plotted story-line and grasp the meaning of it all - or maybe I'm just stupid. It is quite amazing the detail he manages to pack in to 87 minutes.There are some very dramatic moments; when for instance her husband's ex-wife Kathy (Betty Buckley), invades her anniversary celebrations and denounces her; and when on meeting an old friend Claire (Sandy Dennis), with her current partner, she arouses a storm of anger by repeating the same error that drove her friend away in the first place; so engrossing the attention of the man she is talking to that he becomes oblivious to Claire and everyone else. For people who like films that are serious, philosophic and have a message, films that give you something to think and talk about, this is the film for you."