Top positive review
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A quiet classic
on 28 March 2007
One of Woody Allen's finest films and a personal favourite of mine, this is a beautifully understated tale of an everyman talent agent and his relationships with his endless line of spectacularly awful theatrical acts. Danny Rose is played with a baffled kind of innocence by Allen in what is probably his most sympathetic role as a bumbling loser. And he is excellent, toning down his usually caustic barbs (fret not, there're still some belters) in order to bring out the sweetness of Rose's nature. Mia Farrow enjoys one of her best Woody-written roles as the sharp-tongued moll of Nick Apollo Forte's alcoholic lounge singer, bringing considerable warmth to a character that may have eluded other actresses. Forte himself brings presence and heart to the film, deserving all he brings on himself and yet somehow never turning you against him.
It has always been a strength of Allen's that his characters can still draw you in, even if they are fundamentally unlikeable or shallow. This fits in well with the bittersweet tone of 'Broadway Danny Rose' that has a ominous message of lost hope and dreams behind the humour. The final scene between Allen and Farrow at Rose's squalid flat is one of the best I have ever seen, with hardly a word passing from their lips and still managing to make you ache with a contrast of feeling. The banter of the coffee shop comedians is also a clever touch, with Rose clearly considered an example of failure, yet is spoken of with warmth and appreciation.
For me, this film is a meditation on ambition and the repercussions of chasing your dreams. No-one gets what they want, in the way that they want it but all are affected in the pursuit of something better.