Movie Review: You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
By Abbey Khan


Helena (Gemma Jones) tries to end her life after her husband Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) leaves her to pursue his youth, and ends up falling for Charmaine (Lucy Punch), a free-spirited call girl, who spends all his money. Since medication and therapy aren’t working for Helena, her daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) sets her up with a fake fortune teller who gives Helena hope by telling her exactly what she wants to hear. Yearning for a child that her husband Roy (Josh Brolin) is not ready for, Sally fantasizes about having a relationship with her handsome art gallery owner boss, Greg (Antonio Banderas). Meanwhile, Roy, a novelist who had mild success with one book, has his own fantasies about Dia (Freida Pinto), a young woman who lives in the building across from him.

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According to Woody Allen, this film deals with all the same subjects as his 1978 hit Interiors but the characters play them with humor. “This film is the inability of people to relate to one another, people needing some kind of certainty in life, people deluding themselves into some sense that there’s some purpose to life or some extra meaning to life when in fact it’s a meaningless experience and yet in the end even faith in anything at all is better than no faith at all.”

Alfie may be going through a midlife crisis and trying to regain his youth, but Hopkins is perfectly content with his age and is in fact enjoying his ’70s. He said, “I find that I’m glad that I’m not young anymore. I like working with young actors. The last year or so, I feel very much at peace with myself.”

Hopkins says his objective is to escape from anxiety, which he does through painting and composing music. “I play the piano everyday which gives me great pleasure. And I play complicated pieces.”

In the film, Helena tells Alfie to slow down during one of his workout sessions because she’s afraid he will strain himself, something Hopkins is all too familiar with. “I have the energy of a 35-year-old guy,” Hopkins said. “My wife is always telling me to slow down. I work out everyday. I tend to do things faster than I need to.”

Recommendation: C-
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger is yet another film from Woody Allen about a man who goes through a midlife crisis and takes on a younger lover. After writing so many similar stories, Allen must have had a hard time completing the script, one minute you’re watching the film and the next thing you know, it just ends. Except for Helena, there is no resolution for any of the other characters. As usual, Allen has a great cast, the standout being British actress Lucy Punch who has perfect comedic timing and is definitely one to watch. The weakest link in the film is Frieda Pinto, who looks uncomfortable and stiff in every scene. Whether her role requires her to speak or be intimate, Pinto is unconvincing, bland and boring.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is written and directed by Woody Allen. The Sony Pictures Classics release will be out in theaters in Los Angeles and New York on September 22, 2010.

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