20 February 2017

ARROW ACADEMY PRESENTS: HANNAH AND HER SISTERS. (1986) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.



HANNAH AND HER SISTERS. (1986) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY WOODY ALLEN. STARRING WOODY ALLEN, MIA FARROW, MICHAEL CAINE, DIANNE WIEST, BARBARA HERSHEY, MAX VON SYDOW, CARRIE FISHER, JULIE KAVNER, SOON-YI PREVIN AND SAM WATERSTON.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'How should I know why there were Nazis? I don't even know how the can opener works.'

I think you'll either hate Woody Allen and his nervous, shuffling, neurotic little on-screen persona or you'll love him. I'm in the latter camp, and I don't mind saying so. He's over eighty now, this film-maker whom movie critic Roger Ebert once described as 'a treasure of the cinema,' and still making movies. CAFÉ SOCIETY was his latest and it was pretty good. Not bad for an octogenosaurus, as Homer Simpson might say!

Speaking of THE SIMPSONS, Ned Flan-diddly-anders was once heard to remark that he 'likes those Woodsy Allen movies, except for that little nervous fella who's always in 'em...!' That's Woodsy Allen all right, haha. He's at his nervous, most neurotic best in HANNAH AND HER SISTERS.

He plays Mickey, the titular Hannah's ex-husband. He's a middle-aged hypochondriacal television writer who constantly thinks he's dying. We all know someone, don't we, who thinks they've contracted every illness under the sun from Dutch Elm disease to the mange? It's worse if they have THE BIG BOOK OF SYMPTOMS or access to the Internet, because then there's no stopping them in their quest for the ultimate infection.

Anyway, Mickey not only thinks he's got Bubonic plague (or something like it, anyhow) but he's also undergoing a pretty severe existential crisis, in that he's looking for something else to believe in, a new religion maybe, much to the dismay of his Jewish parents.

There's much hilarity as Mickey toys with the idea of becoming a Catholic and even a Hare Krishna, but he doesn't see himself spending his days hanging around the airports sporting robes and a shaved head, as indeed I suppose most of us don't. Airports are such messy, noisy sweaty places. I doubt if anyone spends more time there than they'd have to, haha. Except for the people who work there, of course.

The Hannah of the title is played by Mia Farrow, Woody Allen's then-partner. (Don't mention the war, whatever you do!) My favourite ever film of hers wasn't a Woody Allen film at all actually, but Roman Polanski's marvellous horror movie, ROSEMARY'S BABY, in which she unknowingly gives birth to the son of Satan. Well, you can scoff, but you'd be surprised how easily that can happen. I nearly did it myself once, but that's a story for another time.

Anyway, Hannah seems to really have her shit together, to the occasional envy of her two scattier sisters, Lee and Holly. Married to Michael Caine's Elliot, she's got lovely kids and hosts the family's Thanksgiving dinners and she's so seemingly self-confident and competent in all areas of her life that her family, and her husband Elliot in particular, tends to think that she hasn't any needs at all of her own.

That's no excuse for what Elliot does to her, though. I've loved Michael Caine in everything I've ever seen him in except this film. He's a typical sleazebag of a married man in it, trying to have his cake and eat it too. How Barbara Hershey's Lee can bring herself to go along with Elliott is a mystery to me. (Maybe the lady's mind was traumatised by being raped so many times by THE ENTITY a few years previously, heh-heh-heh. That's a film joke, by the way, definitely not libel!)

Doesn't Lee know that Elliot's only full of shit, like every married man ever? I apologise to the married men out there who really did leave their wives, but to the rest of 'em, well, youse ain't getting' nuthin,' as anti-social bartender Moe from THE SIMPSONS might put it.

And how dare the pair of them make a cuckold out of Father Lankester Merrin, who got puked on by Regan in THE EXORCIST and never turned a hair, God bless his soul? To make such a wonderful man wear the cuckold's horns is an act of the grossest disrespect. Okay, so maybe I'm being tongue-in-cheek but still, Elliot's a louse and Lee doesn't know what the heck she wants. There, I said it.

Holly (Dianne Wiest, the Avon Lady from Tim Burton's EDWARD SCISSORHANDS) and April's sharing of yet another married man (David, played by Sam Waterston. What was that thing he was in, was it NYPD BLUES or HILL STREET BLUES? The blues were definitely in there somewhere!) is yet another example of how the world is full of married men and most of 'em end up hitting on me at some point. Disregard that last bit. We're meant to be talking about the film, not me. By the way, what else would you guys like to know about me...?

The late great Carrie Fisher plays April, by the way, and someone whose voice you may recognise over their face is the wonderful Julie Kavner. In this film, she plays Gail, Mickey's co-worker on the TV show, but you guys might know her better for voicing Marge Simpson and her chain-smoking twin sisters Patty and Selma Bouvier in hit animated programme THE SIMPSONS.

HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, which is chock-full of witty comebacks and one-liners, is out on Blu-Ray from February 20th 2017, courtesy of ARROW ACADEMY and FETCH PUBLICITY. That's the good news. The even better news is that so is RADIO DAYS (1987), another classic Woody Allen film. 

So indulge in 'em both and have the threesome of a lifetime. Then, in the style of one of Woody's characters, go see your analyst. It's only fair. After all, (s)he's got boat payments to make...

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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