You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Monday, October 11th, 2010
So Allen’s returned to London for his new movie, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” which boasts a cast featuring Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, and Josh Brolin. The fact that they all appear here, in your standard, 21st century Woody Allen domestic film, is a testament to the power The Bespectacled One still has over actors and audiences alike. His stories cut to the very essence of what it is to live and love in the modern world, one which seems more unpredictable and meaningless with every failed relationship and demoralizing personal setback.
The film finds Allen once again attempting to depict the story of middle-class urbanites desiring nothing more than happiness, love, and romance in their lives, but who look for it in all the wrong places. In typical Allen fashion, they find themselves drifting apart from their loved ones in their search of impractical solutions to life’s mundane realities. They ditch life partners, mix love with money and work, and steal intellectual property from friends who happen to be in a coma. Hopkins is spot on as Alfie, who in his late-life crisis throws away his marriage for the idealized life of a man half his age, while Gemma Jones is near-perfect as his ex-wife Helena, who has turned to new-age spiritualism to find her answers. Watts is pleasant as their daughter Sally, though the role doesn’t call for the powerful work we’re accustomed to seeing from her; and while it’s amusing to see Brolin strutting around London in his distinct, provincially American voice, he’s awkward as her husband Roy in a role that is unlike anything he’s taken on before, playing a floundering novelist. Lucy Punch is hilarious as the prostitute who has stolen Alfie’s heart, and Freida Pinto of “Slumdog Millionaire” fame is charming as the stunning neighbor who has become Roy’s muse after he’s spent countless hours watching her from his bedroom window.
Addressing how people have the capability to ruin their lives by attempting to achieve some semblance of meaning and pleasure in them, “Stranger” raises the question of why we even bother with intimate relationships when our all-too-human inadequacies almost certainly doom them to failure. In other words, it’s vintage Woody Allen, and like his best work, it is not only remarkably intelligent but also immensely enjoyable.
More by this Author