Hannah and Her Sisters

Guy MacPherson

It's almost pointless writing reviews of Woody Allen films. There is no other filmmaker who elicits such strong feelings one way or the other. Fans of Allen wouldn't dream of missing his yearly offerings, while everyone else wouldn't see an Allen flick if you paid them, no matter how accessible. So what's the point?

If action is not a prerequisite for your viewing pleasure and you like good dialogue, chances are you already like Woody Allen. Hannah and Her Sisters offers plenty of dialogue on the full range of Allen obsessions: love, sex, death, philosophy, architecture, music, adultery, religion, and the meaning of life.

Like many films in the Allen oeuvre, the plot plays second fiddle to the issues. Which is not to say there is no story. There is. But it's more a slice of life. Mia Farrow plays the title role and the most stable character of the sisterly triumvirate which includes Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne Wiest). If the film wasn't so interesting and funny, the characters could come straight out of a soap opera. Allen plays the hypochondriac, Mickey, ex-husband of Hannah, who also dates Holly. Michael Caine is Elliot, Hannah's current spouse, who secretly loves Lee.

The funniest moments come, of course, from Mickey. Convinced he has a brain tumour, Mickey searches for the meaning of life. He investigates Catholicism, but doesn't believe in God. He's willing to dye Easter eggs, though, if it'll work. His search continues with the Hare Krishnas, Socrates, Neitzsche and Freud. It's in a moment of deep depression that Mickey eventually finds the meaning of life.

While Mickey is concerned with the hereafter, Elliot has more immediate concerns. But he, too, after much soul-searching, comes to terms with his demons.

For fans of the "talkie", the inspiring Hannah and Her Sisters will surely please.

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