The Purple Rose of Cairo

by Iain Harral

Woody Allen, USA, 1985, 82 minutes

If you find the prospect of Woody Allen playing another self-conscious, neurotic, weed as much of a turn-off as I do, Purple Rose of Cairo may just be your kind of Woody Allen film. He isn't in it. I can't help thinking that Woody is better off behind the camera where he doesn't have to deal with the presentation of his own image on the screen. His persistent self-deprecation (which is ultimately supposed to enlist our sympathy and admiration) really does get pretty nauseating after a while.

Anyway, back to the movie. In an American cinema during the depression-hit 30s, an avid cinema-goer (Mia Farrow) so enamours her idol (Jeff Daniels), who spies her from the cinema screen, that he leaves his two-dimensional world and steps down into hers.

Allen's script provides a brilliant, touching, examination of the lovers' bizarre relationship, full of wit and intelligence and pretty much devoid of schmaltz.

Farrow and Daniels (isn't he a particularly underrated actor?) are excellent as the two leads and cope admirably with all the emotional challenges Allen's script throws at them.

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