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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Melinda & Melinda

Barbara and I just watched Woody Allen’s 2004 film, Melinda and Melinda. It’s well worth watching — and thinking about. It won’t give anything anyway to say that it opens with a scene that deliberately recalls My Dinner with Andre, with a philosophical discussion between Wallace Shawn and a dining companion (not Andre Gregory this time). They argue about tragedy vs. comedy, and the rest of the movie plays out a story in two different ways, tragic and comic, based on similar beginnings.

In some ways it’s a meta-film, not so much a film about films but rather one that distances the viewers from the story instead of drawing them in. So don’t watch it if you want a traditional story-based movie. But if you want to see some good acting and think about the relationships between tragedy and comedy, between filmmaker and audience, between actors and characters, then you should definitely watch it. After writing this, I think I’ll see it again; I bet I missed a lot the first time around.

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