De-constructing Harry (1997)

Dir. Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen and a whole ton of stars…

I can’t think of any idiots that I would recommend this strongly to. Mitchell comes to mind first because there are certain aspects that will appeal to him. I would not recommend this to people who generally don’t care for the Woodster. This is not a bad film, but I don’t think it should have made the 1001 book.

Allen, in his film persona, plays Harry Block, a writer who has a huge group of friends and family that are angry with the way he has used details from real life in his books. The general plot is that Harry is struggling with writer’s block, while also having difficulty finding someone to go with him to receive a college award.

I haven’t been a big fan of Allen’s films in the past twenty-years. Most of them either seem to be unfunny, duplications of older films and themes or both. If you’ve seen Allen’s films up until the mid-80s, you’ve probably seen all that you need to–at least in my view. For the most part the same applies to this film, except I did like it a little more than I expected. Maybe my low expectations plus being in the mood for an Allen film explains this. There are some good lines, and perhaps a little more than I find in his recent stuff, and that may also explain it.

The idea of having showing us characters from his books come to life on the screen as well as seeing the characters they represent may have been another reason. (One of the things that will appeal to Mitchell, albeit a small thing.)

I want to mention a couple of other things. One is that the film has the most profanity of any Allen film I’ve seen. I don’t know the significance of this. Perhaps this relates to the second thing I wanted to mention, namely that I believe this was made during a rough period in Allen’s life. (Was the Soon-Yi-Mia Farrow thing going on?) This probably provides important context to the film. Allen screen alter ego is dealing with a lot of criticism from people, too, and the film seems to be a way for Allen to address the personal heat he was taking. Was it satisfying? Honestly, I can’t remember the details to I hesitate to give a definitive answer, but my impression was that the ending seemed similar to the ending in Manhattan–which was a kind of “throw your hands in the air and try to enjoy the ride” type of ending. Not very profound or new, but not real offensive either.

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