“I realize you have been hurt. If I’ve done anything wrong, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I accept your condemnation.”
“You are a member of Amnesty International and the ACLU. And the head of the philosophy department. Impossible!”
These are two of my favorite quotes from the Woody Allen film, Another Woman. I like them each equally well but for different reasons. The first is such an outrageous statement by a phony pomposity of an ego so far gone as to defy augury and the other hits a little too close to home with the exception of being the head of the philosophy department. Woody Allen strikes gold here with his study of intellectual angst and mid life crisis. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to declare this film to be a mini-masterpiece.
I ran across this neglected, forgotten and, probably one you never heard of mini-masterpiece while scrolling through HULU one night looking for something decent to watch. Oh, a film by Woody Allen! Let me check it out. Probably seen it before but what the heck? So I cued it up and started watching. Curiously enough I didn’t remember anything about it and was soon captivated and mesmerized by the haunting voice-over by one of it’s stars and the brilliant cinematography of one of the worlds foremost cinematographers.
Another Woman was released in late 1988 and runs for 81 minutes. It was written and directed by Woody Allen. It stars Gena Rowlands as Marion Post, a middle aged philosophy teacher who is on sabbatical to write a book. It is her voice-over we hear as the movie begins. She is describing her life as accomplished and reasonably well settled.
She rents an apartment downtown to work on her book without distraction and discovers that she is able to overhear the conversation between a patient (Mia Farrow) and her psychiatrist through the heating vents coming from the adjoining apartment. At first Marion blocks off the sound with pillows but later she starts to listen in. The patient is despondent, pregnant, and thinking of ending her life. Her name ironically is Hope.
This conversation gets Marion to thinking about her own life and through series of coincidences, ruminations and, flashbacks, she encounters people from previous times in her life and she discovers she is not as happy as she thought she was.
This is a film of introspection and marvelous performances. A central theme of the film is that people can transform their lives to become more fulfilled. To say the film was Bergmanesque is rather stating the obvious. It has long been known that Woody has been greatly influenced by the Swedish master, Ingmar Bergman. Some say that this film resembles Wild Strawberries but I think it is more Persona like, which was also photographed by Sven Nykvist, Bergman’s favored cinematographer.
This is a wonderful film which I highly recommend.
2 thoughts on “Another Woman”
Benn, when I open your blog it always starts me at St. Vincent post, do I usually close it thinking you have not written newer posts. . . Glad to see you looking at character study in a Woody Allen movie. It has been ages since I saw it. I liked your summary and also, learning from you, that there is the possibility for transformation as an ongoing theme in this. I may need to check it out again. Thanks, Benn. 🙂
Hi Robin! My blog always opens with St. Vincent because that post was featured at one time. Hope you will stay tuned for other posts. I am trying to post every week. Thanks for your for your comments. Yes I think it would be worth while seeing Another Woman again. It is stuck in my head and I keep thinking about it. Always good to hear from you!