Feature

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

In Woody Allen's new film, two couples who start playing the field again discover that the grass isn't greener on the other side.

Directed by Woody Allen(R)

**

Woody Allen seems “awfully anxious” to lower expectations at the outset of You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, said Bob Mondello in NPR.com. Aping Shakespeare’s Macbeth, he informs us that this tale is “told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Allen is far from an idiot, but it’s true his romantic black comedy doesn’t add up to much. Anthony Hopkins and Gemma Jones play an elderly British couple who both suddenly decide to start playing the field, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Meanwhile, their daughter (Naomi Watts) and her husband (Josh Brolin) are doing the same. Trying to get more from life, the couples end up with less. Allen has been exploring this same “metaphysical pessimism” for decades, but this time around even he seems to have “grown indifferent to it.” Allen’s tone isn’t boredom—it’s melancholy, said Keith Uhlich in Time Out New York. Considering the filmmaker turns 75 this year, the tall, dark stranger of the title could signify death. Watched with that in mind, the film seems a “bracing addition to an erratic, yet indispensable, oeuvre.”

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