Woody Allen made a number of surprisingly short films in the 1980s. This, Stardust Memories and Zelig all clock-out at under 90mins. Purple Rose hasn't the genius of the other two, but as a bittersweet comedy about the hopeless fantasies Hollywood engenders in its audience, it si the film most likely to appeal to Allen newcomers.
Mia Farrow gives a very nice performance as the downtrodden waitress with a brutish husband who's life becomes enchanted when the dashing explorer in new film Purple Rose Of Cairo suddenly walks out of the screen to talk to her; he is quickly followed by the character's actor who arrives from Hollywood in a desperate bid to persuade his character to go back to work. Jeff Daniels is splendid in this dual role.
A sweet film which is funniest when observing the plight of the actors stranded upmon the screen without the young hero, and the irritated spectators demanding an explanation from the theatre manager. I liked it when farrow's character jumps through the screen and enters the world of the movie for a night of adventure. Some of the fish-out-of-water stuff is wearying though and the film almost drags at the point the real woman has to keep explaining about the real world to the visiting character.
As I say, occasionally funny and bittersweet rather than poignant. The movie's message: Hollywood might foster illusions, but they're some consolation during hard times.