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September 18, 1992 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-09-18

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Friday, September 18, 1992

Believe the hype: Woody Allen's back in form

by Austin Ratner
With "Husbands and Wives,"
Woody Allen makes a convincing
return to genuine humor and
poignant depiction of suffering in
contemporary life - the combina-
tion of which has been his trade-
mark.
First impressions of the film are
iarred by its obvious parallels to the
urrent mess in Allen's personal life;

in both the film and in reality he's
become enamored of a much young-
er girl while his relationship with
Mia Farrow disintegrates. "Hus-
bands" was in fact released early to
take advantage of the public focus
on the scandal.
But the film is not simply a dull
reflection of the tabloid headlines
and, surprisingly, neither is it domi-
nated by the type of uninspired pre-

tentiousness which spawned his last
bomb: "Shadows and Fog."
While the recent events of
Allen's love-life may have alienated
some fans, "Husbands" does much
to restore faith in Woody Allen as an
important creative talent. Though the
Husbands and Wives
Directed and written by Woody Allen;

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with Mia Farrow, Sydney Pollack, and
Judy Davis and Liam Neeson
misguided actions of the couples in-
volved are sometimes hard to relate
to, the genuineness of their confu-
sion and suffering is apparent and
the film's portrait of life bears the
mark of truth.
Jack (Sydney Pollack) seems out-
rageous when he drops his wife
(Judy Davis) for a high-class whore
and later a young aerobics teacher
with astrology on the brain. His be-

I

havior is even more ludicrous when man experience. Propelled by flawlessly realistic real happiness, but instead seem to
he breaks into his old house to sug- While "Husbands" is hardly a performances from a powerful cast, reduce their expectations and live
gest a reconciliation to his wife who hilarious farce in the style of his first and by the production design which with a certain amount of disequilib-
at the time is sleeping with another films, Allen still manages to inject effectively captures the atmosphere rium. While Allen's feeling of inex-
man (Liam Neeson). However, the himself into his old, comfortably of real life in New York, the story- orable gloom and anxiety in his
outrageous situations of the charac- neurotic character with an occasional line of "Husbands" suffers little work is usually understandable -
ters reflect an ambivalence of feeling morsel of humor. When he defends from its tabloid association. The film and if you ask me, easy to identify
and a desperation for companionship his aversion to leaving Manhattan, can't, however, escape entirely from with - his failure to resolve his re-
which is basically ordinary. In this stammering to his wife, "Change the pall laid by Allen's unresolved lationships and his sexuality as an
sense Allen is able once again to equals death," there's no pompous- real life crisis. adult, in life and in film, is a daunt-
touch on profound elements of hu- ness about the philosophizing as Somewhat depressingly, "Hus- ing comment on human limitations
there was in his last film. Instead we bands" is basically a static story, for growth, resolution and happiness.
see genuine, comically delivered poignancy aside. The confused HUSBANDS AND WIVES is playing
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