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4.4 out of 5 stars
Husbands And Wives [DVD] [2002]
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2006
Woody Allen is simply one of the best directors that has ever graced this great planet of ours. This film is again confirmation not only of his talent, but of his intellectual diversity and creative range.
This film does not eschew depicting the difficulties all relationships eventually must confront. Its portrayal of partnership problems is to say the least, uncomfortable, if not painful. Though, what do you expect? Allen is the master of interpersonal relationship analysis - this being again, another brilliant disection the subject.
The film starts with the breakup of a marriage that has been ended through mutual agreement. This breakup is then followed by each spouse finding younger, sexier partners; although the temporary renewal of physical passions stimulate some initial happiness - what we eventually see is that the couple have really hidden the true desires of their hearts all along.
Its never pretty to watch, but always interesting to divulge and ponder; what do we really crave in relationships? Why are the answers always locked away so far deep beneath the human heart? Why are the solutions so simple, yet so painful to implement?
This film is up there with Woody's best work - its one of his best scripts, although more serious it tells us just what we need, yet fear to hear.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I wasn`t a huge fan of Sydney Pollack the director(Out of Africa etc.) but as you`ll see in this, he was a great actor(he also gave a great cameo in The Sopranos). As for Woody Allen i`m a huge admirer of most of his films(there are only a few i`ve not seen) up to and including Small Time Crooks(2000), after that it`s been mainly downhill, the only real exception being Vicky Christina Barcelona , which is worth a look. This is one of my favourites from the 90`s(which also include, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Everyone Says i Love You & Sweet and Lowdown), it works well as both a comedy & drama. The acting overall is excellent but another standout is Judy Davis, whom i believe recieved a much deserved Oscar nomination.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An intelligent, complex, sometimes very funny look at the ins and outs of adult relationships and marriage.

I admire the way the film works hard to avoid casting too much blame on any of the characters while not letting anyone off the hook for their actions either. Like all of us, these are flawed, very... human characters just trying to find a way to be happy in the thickets of marriage, divorce and love.

All the acting is quite good, although Judy Davis, while always great, and wildly entertaining, seemed a bit over-the-top on the ice queen meter, to the point where it was a bit hard for me to believe Liam Neeson's character falling for her.

Ultimately quite sad in it's recognition about just how difficult keeping relationships alive and healthy can be.
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on 22 September 2012
Tired relationships are explored here at a stage when the violent passion of being in love has completely withered down to being a mere couple of people joined together to share the bills by a certificate. I find it to be a very interesting subject and yet another vivid example of how social structure goads folk unconsciously into what is in most cases an uncomfortable and unnatural lifestyle. This film gave me an appreciation of the freedom of choice I have in being single or otherwise.

As ever, Woody knows just how to depict these situations so they are realistic and not coated in sugar. He directs this film showing humour, stoicism & some nice introspective interviews to pepper the drama and allow you to connect with the characters individually. I think anyone will resonate with this story and will therefore enjoy it. It deserves much more words, but let the film speak for itself - You'll be happy you did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2013
...but don't watch this if you're having relationship difficulties or if your marriage is starting to fall apart, and it's especially important not to watch it with your (maybe soon to be ex-) spouse because if you do it'll probably just get worse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2014
Really great characters and good story. Amazing dialogue with the trade mark Woody sensibility. As a whole, slightly more straight forward drama and a bit less comedy than usual, although at times incredibly funny.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A latter day remnant from Woody's so-called 'serious' period, 'Husbands and Wives' appeared a fair few years after the likes of 'Hannah and Her Sisters' and 'Crimes and Misdemeanors'. And it's brilliant. I've always preferred Woody Allen's human dramas, with their understated wit and uncompromising scrutiny, to his earlier slapstick fare but he's the greatest filmmaker I have ever had the privilege to watch and all his work has something to recommend it.

'Husbands and Wives' is clearly influenced by Bergman's 'Scenes From A Marriage' yet Allen's interpretation is far more concise and empathetic: actually it's simply the better film. Examining the consequences of a relationship split on a tight-knit group of friends, we see how increasingly confused and susceptible they all become in the face of new passions and old attachments. The scenes between Allen and Mia Farrow are particularly intriguing, given that they were mired in the middle of their own relationship breakdown at the time, and their arguments have an uncomfortably personal edge. Judy Davis and Sydney Pollack are terrific, while Liam Neeson and Juliette Lewis offer strong support. Lewis neatly performs the predatory seductress, which makes her flirtation with Allen convincing as he comes across as appropriately self-destructive. As he has done countless times before, Allen proves just what a good writer of female roles he is, as they prove to be the most enticing and fascinating among the characters.

This is a gorgeously subtle and bittersweet film, shot with depth and mood. It provokes many questions about the nature of relationships, such as what do we need and what do we desire, why we love and what we ultimately gain from loving. I hope to see Woody explore this subject in detail again, as he does it so heartbreakingly well.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2009
One of the best Allen films. The turmoil of the sex life laid out through a number of different relationships. The nervousness is stressed by the hand-held camera, unusual clippings etc, giving the whole thing an uneasy atmosphere. As usual, the actors give their best under Allens direction, with a miraculous performance by Judy Davis. You recognize the master director in the care with which he has work out even the smallest characters of the story. This is true to all of Allens best movies. Juliette Lewis is totally convincing as the selfconsumed young beauty trying with little success to get a hold on her own integrity. An early Liam Neeson already has the famous calm radiance, but does not convince as being "in love", especially not in the overly nervous Judy Davis, thereby becoming the weekest character in the film, in my eyes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2013
another great film made by woody allen ,enjoyed it a lot ,well worth watching don,t think I,ve seen a film of his I haven,t loved
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2011
Woody Allen is unique. No one else makes existential comedy like this. Woody is clever, and funny. He looks funny. He delivers wonderful comic lines with a sense of ironic tragedy and deep melancholy. Recall that line about Uncle Ptempkin in Love and Death where the old man carries around the piece of land he owns on the palm of his hand: 'He was an idiot but we loved him!' was Woody's matter-of-fact eulogy.
Husbands and Wives contains several of these gems and as usual the theme is hopelessness, futility and despair but all tossed in the Woody Allen comedic salad bowl.
As ever Woody's character is a writer whose one great love was a woman described as 'fantastic for 2 days a month and impossible to live with the rest of the time - she ended up in a lunatic asylum'.
Unrequited, doomed romance is Allen's favorite theme and he does it so well. In this case he resists temptation but ends up all alone while everyone else just takes their chances with the ups and downs of relationships.
I suspect Woody Allen became a film maker so he could embrace and fondle beautiful women. In this case it's a highly embraceable Juliette Lewis (gorgeous) who is just exceptional as a gifted young student who has caused numerous older men to fall on their swords, if you'll excuse the metaphor. Just as Woody is about to fall in love with her she remarks with some disdain: 'what was I doing wasting my time with all those older guys - the mid life crisis brigade...'. Woody of course sympathizes as his ego and libido are crushed like a grape under foot.

If you like Woody Allen, you'll love this movie.
JP ;o)
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