Hannah and Her Sisters (Widescreen) [Import]
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Considered by many to be Woody Allen's best film, even over Annie Hall. Hannah and Her Sisters follows a multitude of characters: Hannah (Mia Farrow), who plays den mother to her extended family; her sister Lee (Barbara Hershey), emotional and a bit of a flake, who's involved with a much older artist (Max Von Sydow), who treats her like a child; and Hannah's other sister, Holly (Dianne Wiest), a neurotic who feels incapable of managing her life. Hannah's husband Elliot (Michael Caine) falls in love with Lee, which sets off a series of upheavals. Allen gives one of his best performances as Hannah's ex-husband Mickey, who--much like Allen himself--is obsessed with death and unhappiness. But a simple summary doesn't begin to capture the warmth and intimacy of this movie; though the story follows a capsizing family, the outcome is surprising, joyous, and richly human. --Bret Fetzer
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Top Customer Reviews
(Mild spoiler) It features a rare movie happy ending that's actually earned!
This is probably the closest to 'Annie Hall' of all Woody Allen films in the mix of wit, technical proficiency, sophisticated stoty-telling, acting, emotion, etc. He takes a bevy of characters and creates a complex heartfelt portrait of family, lovers, friends, and artists that's funny but with insightful bite. A rare film that acknowledges how wonderful life is, without denying how hard it can be at the same time. Or at least how hard we find ways to make it.
The burgeoning Woody blossoms in this triple Oscar winning, 1984 comedic drama of an artsy fartsy family living on Manhattan's Upper West Side and talking out their existential yuppie conflicts. Woody writes about what he knows best --- himself --- and loves best --- Manhattan.
He casts himself as the spermatogenically challenged husband of real life pal, Mia Farrow playing Hannah, going from religion to religion in his hypochondriacal angst of impending mortality.
Woody divorced Hannah, leaving her with a donor's kids. Hannah marries Michael Caine as Elliot. While loving Hannah with terminal tenacity, Elliot falls head over heels in lust for her youngest sister, Lee, played by Barbara Hershey, who is living with cerebral graphic artist and father-figure, Max von Sydow. With her credit card maintained by Hannah, middle sister Holly, played by Dianne Wiest, is called to vocation to vocation in search of herself. As Hannah's parents, Lloyd Nolan and Maureen O'Sullivan lament falling short of their life goals. Only soap is missing.
In satisfying resolutions typical of classic comedy, Woody marries Holly and finds his paternity, Elliot finds his wife, and Lee finds an unencumbered lover. The intimate vignettes are worth watching for Woody's witty dialogue and inimitable subtextual interplay.
HANNAH will be appreciated best by fans who have followed Woody's life and loves from WHAT'S NEW, PUSSYCAT and WHAT'S UP, TIGER LILY through SLEEPER and LOVE AND DEATH, to Oscar-winning ANNIE HALL, MANHATTAN, and his current European city series set in Barcelona with Scarlett Johansson, and Paris.
The French and Spanish dubbings are lively, but not translated literally in the subtitles; are they ever? Missing from this heavily discounted AMAZON disc are special features that should be included with developing genius; look in DVD listings for a 2-disc biography of Allen.
My favorite moment in the movie, and maybe Allen's most insightful ever, is when neurotic Mickey (played by Allen) bursts out of the hospital, having just learned that he is cancer-free. He leaps and bounds down the street, joy overflowing, until, suddenly, he stops, paralyzed with a newly imagined anxiety. Yes, Mickey was delievered from cancer, but he wasn't delivered from himself. You could look long and hard and never discover another ten seconds of filmmaking that better capture what it means to be human. Life's vicissitudes alternately beat us down and lift us up, but in the end, we always revert to ourselves.
When Woody Allen is at his best, you can't help but feel he's writing about *your* life, or something very close to it. Who hasn't experienced Holly's rejection in romance, Frederick's anguish and regret over squandering a relationship, Elliot's clumsy giddiness as he falls in love, Mickey's obsessive anxiety about death? There's a recognizable moment from my experience in almost every scene.
'Hannah and Her Sisters' also boasts Allen's single-best-ever soundtrack. I dare you to watch this movie and not tap your foot. The soundtrack is not available on CD, so that's one more reason to crack open the DVD for the dozenth time.
If you haven't seen 'Hannah and Her Sisters,' now's the time. If you have, it can't hurt to revisit a bona-fide classic.
The secondary story line features Woody Allen as Hannah's ex-husband who is completely neurotic and obsessed with iiness and death. However Allen is able to twist this to great comic effect. The story weaves back and forth between the emotional upheaval in the lives of Hannah, her husband(Michael Caine) and her sisters to Allen and his character's search for spiritual fullfillment. All of the characters are fully realized people , none perfect, and yet basically well meaning. (with the possible exception of Caine's character).
I believe this is one of Woody Allen's finest films and have viewed it repeatedly over the years. The only weakness is the ending which is a bit contrived but that is easily forgivable in a film that is entertaining, thought provoking and funny at the same time.
Most recent customer reviews
I love this movie. I have watched it a number of times. I am a fan of character movies and Woody does that well.Published on Feb. 14 2013 by Pat J.
This is a great story about how confusing human relationships can be and how people try to deal with the cards they are dealt in life. Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by J. McAndrew
Both Manhattan and Annie Hall are better movies but nothing beats Hannah for sheer excellence in exploring the mess that is the human heart and mind. Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by J
Most reviewers have already done a great job critiquing one of Allen's best. I have to add this movie has one of my favorite lines in a movie...it is actually profound. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2004
This movie, "Annie Hall", and "Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy" are very fun to watch, cute and fluffy, but ultimately shallow. Read morePublished on July 3 2003 by Mark Cederholm
In one of woody' best film, he is able to captivate the lives of 3 totally different sisters (and a hypocondriac husband) into an oscar winning film! Read morePublished on June 22 2003
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