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3.9 out of 5 stars
Deconstructing Harry [DVD] [1998]
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2005
In my opinion, this is Allen's best film of the 1990s. It has all the wit of Bananas and Sleeper, all the magic of Manhattan and Annie Hall, but it also has something else. It stands out as one of Allen's most unique films.
Deconstructing Harry tells the story of Harry Block, a novelist, whose stories are derived from personal experience. His characters are reimaginings of his friends and family. A recipe for disaster. When reality catches up with Harry, the line between his life and his fiction completely blurs (literally, in one particular case, featuring the brilliant Robin Williams.)
The way that this film is shot is particularly interesting. Allen rejects the usual film editing in favour of clipped scenes that often do not fully conclude. The jerkiness of the film itself reflects the ever changing and irratic nature of Harry Block's life.
The film also acts as a compendium of short stories. Harry Block's stories are often told throughout the film, with cameos from the likes of Demi Moore, Robin Williams and Tobey McGuire. There's also appearances by Kirstie Alley, Marial Hemingway (Manhattan) and the wonderful Elisabeth Shue.
This film is great for any kind of Woody Allen fan - whether you want Annie Hall or Sleeper. And it's also perfect for those who love comedy and well made films with a twist.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2008
I have been a long time Woody Allen fan but had never seen this film before. I have recently been re-watching most of his films and I think this stands amongst the very best..
The structure of the film is very clever and adds interest and variety to what is a very funny story. The casting is superb and Allen is brilliant as Harry. If you have a problem with profanity(extreme), you will probably have issues with this film, but I absolutely loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Yes, this definitely has similarities to ‘Stardust Memories.’
One of the main differences is the deep colour palette used here ( not particularly good on the normal DVD) compared to the crisp B&W of the former.
There are many excellent performances here. Woody is at his most, expressively arm waving, excuse riddled - it’s not my fault, endearing best!
There are two wonderful cameos here from the ladies: Lucy’s (Judy Davies) rant early doors is brilliant, but even this is topped by Joan’s (Kirsty Alley) rant ( complete with bemused client) at the office. I’ll say no more than that, even the old dears are at it, in a scene called, The Dark Secret,’ it’s all top comedy and written by the best script writer that there is?
There are also plenty of stars joining in the fun – Robin Williams - very briefly, Demi Moore & Billy Crystal to name but a few. I did find the dialogue in one later scene between Crystal & Woody very distasteful - very unusual for a Woody script, though again, unusually, this film is filled with bad language!
As with ‘Stardust’, this is not a particularly easy plot to follow, it contains flashbacks from the 'personal' storylines of his books - about himself and his partners - though these are played by other actors, fantasy sequences and other comedy sketches thrown in for good measure.! It’s a hoot of course, but my preference is for ‘Stardust,’ as it was first, and the ‘close up’ cinematography was stunning and quite clearly very memorable!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2015
Not much of a plot arc, some overwrought acting, a clutch of good gags. This is Woody Allen veering toward his self-indulgent mode. Falls somewhere between the comedy of 'Play it Again Sam' and the introspection of 'Husbands and Wives'. More of a lesson in movie-making than an entertainment.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2011
I can understand what people who like Woody Allen don't like about this film, its' probably the swearing, something not usually used in his films, don't know if he was trying to be a bit more up to date. Apart from that I found it very funny, leave it a couple of years and I'll probably watch it again, Woody plays the part he's best at, a neurotic, a writer who writes novels loosely based on his life experiences, which has a tendency to upset close family and friends I don't like to give the story away so I won't, a very entertaining and funny film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2015
Please note that the Hollywood Pictures R2 DVD release of Woody's atypical but wonderful picture is not in widescreen but in a cropped 1.33:1 ratio. The one to get is the Kaleidoscope release.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 October 2010
It has been fascinating, seeing this film again for the first time since it was at the NFT back in the late nineties. I remembered a lot of swearing and a lot of laughter in the auditorium. And again the film made me laugh out loud several times.

I see this as another film, like Stardust Memories, where Allen appears to be taking stock of his life and work; the difference is that with Deconstructing Harry he lets fly at his critics, his enemies, at everybody, with a film that is unique in Allen's career for its profanity, its gleeful hostility, its zest for lasciviousness.

The stories are very witty, the ensemble cast superb, even if some scenes don't quite ring true (I didn't much care for Judy Davis' gun-toting hysteria at the beginning); the co-mingling of fantasy and reality as Harry's characters visit him and provide insights into the lives of the people he has known and disappointed. This is another film that nods at Bergman's Wild Strawberries, where the old professor makes a road trip to accept an honour and dreams and memories are stirred as he revisits the scenes of his life. Allen's film is more zany, more cartoonish, but it is also funnier and more of a party. Vignettes of other films, allusions to his prose fiction, reflections upon his personal and professional shortcomings, combined with an almight F*** YOU! to everyone.

People who react with horror have been soaking up the trad jazz and ignoring the work of the artist. It's not likely to be your favourite Woody film, but it's very entertaining and in no other Allen film are the cast - especially the women - pushed to express such fury. A film of very strong emotions, very adult. Just don't expect to know what 'deconstruction' means by the end.
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on 19 February 2015
His most likeable film since Hannah and his Sisters and similar in style to his earlier 70's efforts,Annie Hall,Play it again,Sam with liberal use of flashbacks and fantasy sequences.Some LOL moments,rare in his 90's movies and large doses of dry New York jewish wit.

Non-stop stream of guest stars in cameo roles,but some of the supporting cast turn in amateurish performances.Best bits are the blind grandma,the corpse in the car and Billy Crystal as Satan.

Central character,though,suffers from too much navel gazing,film is over talky in parts, and unusually for Allen,profanities abound.

Choppy editing from fantasy to flashback and to the present and Pythonesque scenes which abruptly stop mean it is not an easy watch.

Still very good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2015
Woody Allen assembles an ensemble cast that is also about writer's block which is interesting but some people may get board with Allen's style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2014
Very happy with purchases made for Max - I've seen an improvement to his walking as a result of Max taking Vetzyme for his painful joints
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