Brimming with laughter, tears and subtle beauty, Hannah and Her Sisters is a magnificent "summation of [Woody Allen's] career to date" (The New York Times). Winner* of three Oscars¬(r) and featuring a brilliant all-star ca... more »st, Hannah and Her Sisters spins a tale of three unforgettable women and showcases Allen "at his most emotionally expansive, working on his broadest canvas with masterly ease" (Newsweek)! The eldest daughter of show-biz parents, Hannah (Mia Farrow) is a devoted wife, loving mother and successful actress. A loyal supporter of her two aimless sisters Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne Wiest), she's also the emotional backbone of a family that seems to resent her stability almost as much as they depend on it. But when Hannahs perfect world is quietly sabotaged by sibling rivalry, she finally begins to see that she's as lo st as everyone else, and in order to find herself, she'll have to choose ¬? between the independence her family can't live with¬...and the family she can't live without. *1986: Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress (Wiest), Supporting Actor (Caine)« less
Debby W. from DELRAY BEACH, FL Reviewed on 3/17/2011...
Woodie Allen's best movie.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Daniel A. (Daniel) from EUGENE, OR Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
This is different from the usual Allen comedy style, with an appealing cast of characters and great performances. He seems to care more about these sisters than most other movie characters.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
A Sumptuous Feast for the Eyes and Ears
D. Davis | Southern CA | 08/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Without a doubt, this is my most favorite of Allen's works. This film is an American classic, and it needs to be on the list of the 100 greatest American films. I, too, lament that it is no longer available--but thanks to the glorious Amazon.com, I was able, last month, to purchase this in an online auction. I now own this marvelous film whose themes range from love (what else? it's Woody Allen), to general despair and the search for God in an ostensibly godless and hostile universe, to infidelity (why not?), and infertility giving way to miraculous pregnancies (the last line of the film is, after all, uttered by Weis's character: "I'm pregnant" she tells a confused and then moved Allen); and, of course, there is that famous question students of Allen's must ask: "Do we have the right to think we deserve more or that we deserve to be happy?" I'll let the film answer that for you. A brilliantly comedic performance is given by Diane Weist who plays Holly, the most boisterous and fame-driven of Hannah's sisters, and who fights so comically with Carrie Fisher's April over architect David played keenly by Allen fixture Sam Waterston (see Waterston and Weis in Allen's "September"; they're breathtaking together). Mia Farrow is adequate as Hannah--mother, stage actress, and Thanksgiving hostess--and Barbara Hershey leaves us cold as the much sought-after Lee. Bergman icon and Allen hero Max von Sydow gives an obvious performance as the angst-ridden artist in the 20th century (this was the 80s...) Allen also gives a brilliant but by now familiar comedic performance as hypochondriac and god-searcher Mickey Sacks. And Michael Cain is superb as Hannah's wandering husband, Eliot.The film revolves liturgically around the seasons and around the most Protestant of holidays, Thanksgiving--the scenes were filmed in Farrow's real-life New York apartment (she talks about it in "What Falls Away," available from Amazon.com). Sophisticated jazz tunes fill the house from Hannah's father, played by Lloyd Nolan, and Farrow's real mother, Maureen O'Sullivan (remember her swim with Tarzan?) plays the reminiscent and libidinous mother--"just a boozy old flirt with a filthy mouth." These Thanksgiving scenes are designed splendidly--around the other seasons of the year--to show us each character's progression (or lack thereof). The soundtrack (which I also own on tape, not CD, unfortunately) is what makes this film so splendid. Melodies swell up from the true American composers and musicians--Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Count Basie. The film is haunted by two melodies serving as themes: "Isn't It Romantic?" and "Bewitched." These songs are woven seemlessly into scene after scene in moody and melancholy ways. This soundtrack is perfect for a rainy day.If you ever find a copy of this film, snatch it up and treasure it forever!"
The finest film of Allen's notable career
Paul M West | Seattle, WA USA | 09/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters" is the finest of the neurotic writer-director-actor's pictures. His prowess in weaving together complete characters and compelling storylines is as intricate as Altman, as artful as Renoir. Yes, those are "big movie terms," but are warranted in describing this bitersweet marvel.Allen's command of the medium results in some terrific photographic shots, including the classic "camera-revolving-around-the-table" sequence featuring Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her sisters (Barbara Hershey and dynamite Oscar-winner Dianne Wiest), whose lives all seem to be going through very adult mid-life crises with their husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends, and families. Michael Caine's work in this film also shines, and Allen himself is in his prime. The ensemble cast in this film creates an atmosphere that has you really believing you're watching friends and family, and not simply actors acting, reciting lines, a problem even the better "ensemble films" often face.All of the elements in this picture --- cinematography, classic jazz tunes, nearly-musical dialogue --- are on ample display in a film rich with human warmth and big laughs. Although Allen's films are not for all tastes, this is a film that should very easily be enjoyed by nonfans and especially film students who can get a chance to see a virtuoso talent at the top of his form, not conforming by traditional storytelling and filmic norms."
Nearly perfect in many ways
R. J. Marsella | California | 12/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is a scene near the end of this film where Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her sisters Holly (Dianne Wiest) n"Lee(Barbara Hershey) meet over lunch and the camera slowly circles them as they engage in a heated emotionally charged conversation that is one of the most poignant moments I have ever seen on a screen. All 3 of these actresses are just outstanding in this movie. Mia Farrow has some scenes where her emotions are so vivdly expressed in her words and her facial expression that it is in my opinion one of the finest performances ever.
The secondary story line features Woody Allen as Hannah's ex-husband who is completely neurotic and obsessed with iiness and death. However Allen is able to twist this to great comic effect. The story weaves back and forth between the emotional upheaval in the lives of Hannah, her husband(Michael Caine) and her sisters to Allen and his character's search for spiritual fullfillment. All of the characters are fully realized people , none perfect, and yet basically well meaning. (with the possible exception of Caine's character).
I believe this is one of Woody Allen's finest films and have viewed it repeatedly over the years. The only weakness is the ending which is a bit contrived but that is easily forgivable in a film that is entertaining, thought provoking and funny at the same time."
Woody Allen's best and one of my all-time favorite movies...
Eric McCalla | Denver, COLORADO | 11/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"HANNAH AND HER SISTERS was recommended VERY, VERY highly by a fine arts teacher when it was first released in '86. He couldn't say enough good things about how wonderful the casting, the story and the humor made the movie a real treat. 15 years and at least a couple dozen viewings later, I couldn't agree more. This movie is like comfort food. I have connected with the characters, Holly in particular (played wonderfully by Dianne Wiest, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for this role)so many times that they are literally like old friends. The themes are common to everyday life and family, which doesn't make them a cliche, but more meaningful every time I watch. There are moments in the film you can replay in your memory time and again: my favorite is the taxi scene when Holly is ruminating over her awful "date" with her friend April (another great performance by Carrie Fisher) and the architect, David. I think this is one of the most well-cast films made by anyone, American or foreign directors included. Michael Caine, Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey and Max von Sydow form a perfectly blended ensemble. The DVD transfer is of average quality. The picture is crisp enough, but it doesn't look enhanced in the DVD format. It would be nice if the studio had included more than a skimpy essay on the film's production that is included as a two-page liner/note on the inside cover. HANNAH AND HER SISTERS will make a great holiday gift for everyone, friends and family included this season!"
After Annie Hall, possibly best Woody
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 04/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a self-proclaimed Woody Allen fan but even for those of you who do not take to his exaggeratedly stammering, quivering, uber-NY personality ...this is a must see-movie. There is much lesser of the typical Woody you are used to -- the neurotic vocal tics, the dry white whine -- and a lot more of story in this movie than others I have seen of him. This is also NOT your archetypic semi-comic semi-profound study of contemporary relationships (e.g., Manhattan, Crimes & misdemeanors etc) in terms of stylistic treatment, which is quite refreshing.I hesitate to regurgitate the script as other reviews have done so already, but I can bet you'll leave with several enduring scenes from the movie, including one where Micky (Woody's character) ends up in a movie house watching the Marx Brothers and realising the value of life, or the depiction of his hypochondria (a trait not uncommon among most urban city denizens, esp. New Yorkers). Other brilliant moments emerge when Mickey vows to convert to a religion that provides him the answers to life's big questions such as "what am I doing here?". So he wavers through a wide range of options from catholicism (much to the chagrin of Jewish parents and his interludes with his father are hilarious) to Hare Krishas dancing in parks and airports (which he decides to give up for fears of handing out flowers with a shaved head).The acting all-round is superlative and as others would confirm this is one flick where you'll get to see a Michael Caine behind the cold British veneer that he is typically associated with otherwise. His promiscuity between two women is outstandingly potrayed. Most people familiar with Woody Allen would still rate Annie Hall as the pinnacle of Woody, or Manhattan as his most iconoclastic, but this is a charming, funny, deep and entertaining film and a close second/third to Annie. Highly recommended.(And contrary to some reviewers, I absolutely love the ending. Why should every story have a feel-goody ending?)"