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4.5 out of 5 stars
31
4.5 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 July 2010
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 30 April 2017
moody, broody and captivating
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on 8 April 2017
Fantastic, one of his very best.
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on 21 August 2013
Husbands and Wives (1992) must be the summit of Woody Allen's achievements as a director. I know conventional opinion says Manhatten (1979) remains his very best and I agree it is a marvelous picture, but Husbands and Wives rates alongside it because of its equally sophisticated script taking in a broader canvas of characters than usual. The subject remains the same - love, relationships, marriage, do we ever actually know the partner we are hooked up with? How do we make sense of our lives which are in a constant state of flux? Manhatten focuses mainly on the one character played by Woody and remains throughout a bitter-sweet comedy with the other characters slightly pushed into the background. Husbands and Wives however foregrounds its four main protagonists equally. It's definitely not a comedy though there are some very funny one-liners. Its richness comes with its embracing of all emotions involved in human relationships and how they are filtered through a group of skillfully-drawn, beautifully played characters who although belonging to that upper-middle class milieu so central to all of Woody's films, are in fact so different as people. The film kicks off with Jack and Sally (Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis) announcing their amicable break-up to their best friends, Gabe and Judy (Woody and Mia Farrow) and follows through the effects this has on all the characters. This could so easily have degenerated into soap opera. The fact that it doesn't comes down to Woody's distancing of us from the characters via shooting the film as a fly-on-the-wall documentary. Carlo di Palma's camera remains hand-held throughout (dizzyingly-so in some scenes!) and an interviewer/narrator (Jeffrey Kurland) is deployed to give each character a stab at describing their feelings and emotions. Often the same events are described twice through the different perceptions of each character involved and I challenge anyone not to emphasize with many of the odd emotions which are sparked off throughout.

With a wonderful script Pollack, Davis, Farrow and Woody all play flawlessly - their characters coming across as fully-rounded, believably vulnerable and touchingly complex. The warmth is extended to other characters who gate-crash and divide the attentions of our central quartet - Rain (Juliette Lewis), a precocious student who seduces her literature professor Gabe, and then Michael (Liam Neeson) a romantic magazine editor who Judy introduces to Sally. The only character who doesn't seem to get Woody the director's approval is Sam (Lysette Anthony), a young aerobics instructor who diverts Jack. Her ditziness might be funny, but it is condescending humour coming from a writer/director who seems to accept those in his own upper middle class and no others. Where Rain and Michael get scenes which firmly establish their characters, Sam is reduced to a hippy, tofu-eating, astrological dimwit who isn't given a chance. It is the only flaw in an otherwise beautifully observed, wonderfully poignant, piercingly perceptive inquisition into that thing called love. The fact that the film's release coincided with Woody's real-life break-up with Farrow adds a layer of irony over proceedings.

This is a region 2 DVD designed for the UK market which looks great and sounds just as well. There are no extras, but at this price it's a mandatory purchase.
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on 19 June 2017
I like the hero. I don't know what other people think, but I think it's a good movie. The plot of the film feels very close to reality. At that time, the special effects of the film were good. I watched it during the vacation. The ending was wonderful.
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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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on 12 June 2011
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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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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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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VINE VOICEon 17 April 2007
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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