The impossibility of reviewing a Woody Allen film: ​Eli Glasner

The impossibility of reviewing a Woody Allen film: ​Eli Glasner
From CBC - December 7, 2017

So there I was, about to head into the screening of director Woody Allen's latest film Wonder Wheel when the email alerts started pinging. This time it was Matt Lauer. The popular host of NBC's Today show, fired after revelations of multiple claims of sexual harassment.

In the hours that followed details emerged allegations ofLauerusing a button to lock his office door from the insidebefore assaulting a colleague. But before I had time to process, the lights dimmed and it was time to watch Allen's latest bauble.

Welcome to reviewing films in the post-Weinstein era.

There was a time when savouring the latest installment from Woody Allen was less complicated. The stand-up comedian turned auteur had a distinct voice, he was ambitious and prolific. But as Allen's power as a director waned, stories about him began to emerge.

Beyond the unseemliness of Allen wooing and then marrying his adoptive daughterSoon-Yi, there's the charge levelled by Allen's adopted daughter Dylan Farrow that he molested her at the age of seven.

Allen denies it, but the accusations irrevocably change the way we perceive his stories.

Wonder Wheel's story revolves around Rachel Weisz, playing a woman trapped in a loveless marriage to a man played by Jim Belushi. Her husband perks up when his long lost daughter returns. Juno Temple plays the daughter, all blond curls and batting eyelashes, which leads the wife to complain about her husband's "unnatural attachment."

At another point,Weisz says "When it comes to love, we often turn out the be our own worst enemy."

The same could be said for Allen, who described Weinstein as a "sad, sick man" while worrying about "a witch hunt atmosphere."

Wonder Wheel is notgood film. Jim Belushi is wildly out of his depth and, at best, the storyline rises to the level of a second-rate Neil Simon play.

To watchWonder Wheel as the voices speaking out about sexual harassment growlouder is to come to terms with all sides of the artist. A nebbish philosopher, sure. But also anolder man infatuated with youth and beauty in story after story.

Films of Allen and C.K. have common themes

This same mixture of power and privilege, with a heady side of self-loathing, can be found in the latest film of Allen admirer Louis C.K.

I Love You Daddy is a black and white comedy starring Chloe GraceMoretzand Louis C.K. that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. After a string of successful TV shows, the comedian wrote shot and directed the project in secret.


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