Saturday, 3 May 2014

''Hannah and Her Sisters'' (1986 movie)- Review

Directed by: Woody Allen
Released: 1986
Country: United States

Genre: Comedy-drama

Cast: Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine, Woody Allen, Carrie Fisher

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Woody Allen's ''Hannah and Her Sisters'' is the story of, well, Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her two sisters, Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne Wiest), their lives, their relationships, the troubles that they have to come across in their lives. It is definitely a memorable, a charming little film.

The film starts with Elliot (Michael Caine), one of the major characters of the film, describing how much he loves Lee. He explains that he loves Lee, but then he says that Lee is the sister of his wife. Elliot is Hannah's husband, and though they are deeply in love with each other, Elliot is also infatuated with Lee, and the latter can sometimes guess Eliot's behavior that he has a crush on her.

The film deals with several subplots, all of them connected with Hannah, Lee, and Holly. Over the course of he film, Eliot tells Lee that he loves her, and the two start an affair. Elliot is clearly guilt-stricken knowing the fact that he is cheating on her wife. He explains that Hannah had come to his life when everything had been ''empty'' for him, and though he deeply loves Hannah, he does not have the heart to break his relationship with Lee. Lee lives with her boyfriend, Frederick (Max von Sydow), a man whom she describes as being ''superior'' to her in everything, including age and intellect. Frederick lives a solitary life, and, according to him, Lee is his only connection with the outside. Lee is tired of living such a life, having such a partner. She only wants to start everything all over again, and continues her relationship with Elliot.

Then there is Mickey Sachs (Woody Allen), Hannah's ex-husband, a hypochondriac who keeps worrying about everything. When he is relieved from a worry, he starts worrying about something else. He starts doubting that he has brain tumor, and he is relieved when he comes to know that nothing is wrong with him; but then he starts worrying about something else: what is the point of living on if everybody has to die one day?

Another subplot deals with Holly, who has had an unsuccessful career in stage and thinks that her life has been a failure. She is worried as she thinks that everybody thinks her to be a ''loser''. A major portion of the film deals with Holly trying to make something of her life.

The story and theme of the film is reflected in it's title: ''Hannah and Her Sisters''. It deals with the lives of Hannah, Lee, and Holly, and somehow, their lives, feelings and the incidents they come across are quite interconnected. Hannah is the eldest sister, very supportive of her sisters. She always tries to encourage Holly, persuades her not to give up hope, and is always ready to help her financially. On the other hand, Holly thinks that Hannah always wants to make her think that she is a loser, that her entire life has been a failure, that she has got no potent. The scene where the three sisters get together for lunch is really memorable. Farrow, Hershey, and Wiest all give extremely strong performances in this scene. We come to know Hannah as the emotionally stable, supportive, strong sister, who is having a hard time with her husband, but still tries to solve the problems of her sisters, giving both emotional and financial support to Holly. Holly, the unsuccessful actress and former cocaine addict, suffers from complexes as she often thinks that her total life has been a failure.

The others are also great in their roles. Michael Caine gives a great performance, and so does Woody Allen.  Allen's performance is pretty great, funny, and memorable as well.Max von Sydow plays Lee's boyfriend, an artist who prefers isolation and to whom, Lee is the only contact with the outside world.

This is a wonderful film from Woody Allen; I'm trying to get to know Allen's works better. Prior to watching this, I had only watched a few other Woody Allen films. Early this year, after watching ''Blue Jasmine'', I decided that I had to get more acquainted with the works of this man, whom Roger Ebert referred to as a ''treasure of the cinema''. I loved ''Hannah and Her Sisters''; the film has a great cast, a great screenplay, it has combinations of both comedy and serious drama, and overall, it's a lovely, highly enjoyable film.

4.5 out of 5

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