Saturday, July 4, 2015

Deconstructing Harry

Movie Name: Deconstructing Harry
Year of Release: 1997
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Judy Davis, Elisabeth Shue, Stanley Tucci, Tobey Maguire, Richard Benjamin, Robin Williams, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Kirstie Alley, Bob Balaban, Billy Crystal, Mariel Hemingway, Hazelle Goodman, Amy Irving, Julie Kavner, Demi Moore, Eric Lloyd, Caroline Aaron, Eric Bogosian, Paul Giamatti, Philip Bosco
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

After the nostalgic and musical "Everyone Says I Love You", Woody Allen returned in 1997 with yet another caustic and biting comedy. The story focuses on Harry Block, a well regarded novelist, who is about to be honored by his alma mater (from which he got expelled). Harry however, with his taste for pills and prostitutes, has mostly made a mess of his life, and in the process alienated most of his close relationships: he has three ex-wives, a young son he doesn't see much, and even his latest girlfriend has left him to marry his best friend. Desperate to find someone to go to the ceremony with, Harry finds a prostitute who tags along, with the extra company of his son Hilly and his friend Richard. As they embark on the trip, all sorts of events unfurl, including a brief passage of Harry through jail. 
"Deconstructing Harry" is one of the most interesting films from Woody Allen in the 90s. The film combines his biting wit, with a lot of self-reverential mock and satire. The scathing jokes attack everything and everyone, from Hollywood to religion, although in the end, the film is a celebration of the writer persona. For all his maladies and short comings, Harry Block (Woody Allen's alter ego), truly succeeds when writing, when creating his own art. The film allows for a series of actors and actresses to create small and memorable roles, particularly Judy Davis, Kirstie Alley, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. The film is also a continuation of Woody Allen's experiments with editing and camera, with the wonderful cinematography from Carlo Di Palma elevating the look and feel of the whole feature. A great film always worth revisiting!