9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Just not talked about enough,
This review is from: Husbands And Wives [DVD]  (DVD)
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.