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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF HIS BEST AND MOST BITTER
This is probably the best of Woody's "bitter" movies (DECONSTRUCTING HARRY, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS) wherein Allen continued to explore relationships with humor, but with far less of the optimistic, hopeful nature he shows in classics such as HANNAH AND HER SISTERS.
HUSBANDS AND WIVES is crisply written and extremely well performed. Everyone is terrific,...
Published on March 21 2003 by RMurray847

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars WOODY IMITATES HIMSELF
Handheld camera, documentary style, 1st person confessionals - all style and techniques Woody Allen has used before with success. After all the whiz-bang massive Hollywood movies Allen can sometimes be remarkably fresh - to me, he's always been the Film Students best friend, low budget, dialog driven...accessible to anyone with a camera and knack for writing. However,...
Published on June 22 2003


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF HIS BEST AND MOST BITTER, March 21 2003
By 
RMurray847 (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Husbands and Wives (Bilingual) (DVD)
This is probably the best of Woody's "bitter" movies (DECONSTRUCTING HARRY, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS) wherein Allen continued to explore relationships with humor, but with far less of the optimistic, hopeful nature he shows in classics such as HANNAH AND HER SISTERS.
HUSBANDS AND WIVES is crisply written and extremely well performed. Everyone is terrific, but Judy Davis and Sydney Pollack truly shine. They are married, but he dumps her for a very young woman. Davis finds herself on the dating scene again, but even as she goes on her first date, she is dealing angrily with her estranged husband.
Mia Farrow and Allen are another disfunctional ex-couple. Throw into the mix nice, single man Liam Neeson, whom both women lust and fight over, and you've got a nice stew of relationships.
The movie is VERY funny, but is tinged with bitterness throughout. Occasionally, the movie is presented as a sort of documentary, where the main characters are answering questions directly into the camera, but this device is a bit of distraction. It's a minor thing, though.
Truly, the script is sizzling, but it is the performances that make this movie unforgettable. Judy Davis was nominated for an Oscar, but Farrow is very good as well, and it is a hoot to see Neeson in such an early role. Pollack could have been nominated as well, and Allen gives what is probably his last great performance (possibly excepting DECONSTRUCTING HARRY).
Allen fans must see this film. It's one of his most important. If you're not an Allen fan, I suggest starting with a "kinder, gentler" film such as ANNIE HALL or MANHATTAN or HANNAH... before taking on this one
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woody puts the "Fun" in dysFUNctional, June 10 2002
By 
Elderbear (Loma Linda, Aztlan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Husbands and Wives (Bilingual) (DVD)
He's not happy with her, their friends aren't happy with each other, the friends break up, he flinging with his aerobics instructor, she, trying to indulge in an editor, while everybody self-consciously tells the viewers what they will not tell their (ex-)spouses. We see manipulation posing as truth, vulnerable facades imitating intimacy, lust mimicking passion, and discover, in the end, that perhaps the only true desire in a Woody Allen movie is to dodge happiness & to take pleasure in the misery of knowing that it probably wouldn't have worked out anyhow.
Confused yet?
I can't imagine anybody still in the "honeymoon" stage of a First Great Love appreciating this movie. For those scarred by years of relationship campaigning, much of Allen's view may ring all-too-true. I won't say how many times I saw myself, my wife, and ex-lovers plastered against the screen.
Throughout the movie, individuals and couples long for intimacy, for lasting passion, for refreshment, but end up settling for comfort, manipulation, and denial. I wanted to scream. I hoped, hopelessly, for hope--this is, after all, a Woody Allen Movie--but was left, in the end, with Gabriel (literally "God's Hero") telling viewers that love, romance, and passion can only exist as a neurotic and fleeting figment of experience.
Damned if I'm willing to settle for that. And perhaps that's the great strength of this movie. It could, after all, be a satire, not about mid-life-crisis-men seeking youth through young lovers, but showing, in the crassest relief, how barriers and little deceits ultimately lead to destruction and misery in relationships. And maybe that's where the hope lies, in learning to be honest in a way that none of Allen's characters can be, not even with themselves.
(If you'd like to discuss this review or DVD in more depths, please click the "about me" link above and drop me an email. Thanks!)
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5.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent, funny, and touching look at marriage, April 16 2011
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Husbands and Wives (Bilingual) (DVD)
An intelligent, complex, sometimes very funny look at the ins and outs of adult relationships and marriage.

I admire the way the film works hard to avoid casting too much blame on any of the characters while not letting anyone off the hook for their actions either. Like all of us, these are flawed, very... human characters just trying to find a way to be happy in the thickets of marriage, divorce and love.

All the acting is quite good, although Judy Davis, while always great, and wildly entertaining, seemed a bit over-the-top on the ice queen meter, to the point where it was a bit hard for me to believe Liam Neeson's character falling for her.

Ultimately quite sad in it's recognition about just how difficult keeping relationships alive and healthy can be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wince and Love It, July 8 2004
By 
Mary C. Dubrock (Paducah, KY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Husbands and Wives (Bilingual) (DVD)
Never has a movie about relationships hit so many nerves on so many levels. It takes guts to view this film with an open mind. I takes familiarity with relational boredom and heartache to understand it completely.
Woody Allen delves into the minds and dysfunctional lives of two and then four couples with the deftness of a ninja in "Husbands and Wives." Rarely have I seen such candor in depiction of the seven year itch. It is a place in time that will be familiar to many couples given the opportunity for honesty and will likely create interesting if not brutal debate in the most secure of unions.
The hand held camera used in many of the scenes are not for those prone to motion sickness. Nonetheless, it creates an intimacy and urgency that grant the film credence at its most passionate moments.
Each of the characters is someone that the viewer probably knows in situations that they would never discuss, leaving him both baffled and sympathetic.
I highly recommend the film to those viewers able to be honest enough and possibly brave enough to face their most intimate relational demons.
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3.0 out of 5 stars WOODY IMITATES HIMSELF, June 22 2003
This review is from: Husbands and Wives (Bilingual) (DVD)
Handheld camera, documentary style, 1st person confessionals - all style and techniques Woody Allen has used before with success. After all the whiz-bang massive Hollywood movies Allen can sometimes be remarkably fresh - to me, he's always been the Film Students best friend, low budget, dialog driven...accessible to anyone with a camera and knack for writing. However, this movie's insider pseudo New Yorker intelligence really grates. Allen goes out of his way to tie all analogies to relatively obscure references to show just how cosmopolitan and educated they all are. To me they all come off as a bunch of whining elitist snobs with no real problems at all. They are annoying and unlikable in every sense. I have enjoyed Allen's films immensely, but this one seems like a good Woody Allen imitation, and not the real thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must See!, June 4 2002
By 
Darnell R. Johnson (Duluth, GA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Husbands and Wives (Bilingual) (DVD)
I will start by saying this, to all the men and women who are in destructive relationships and they know it(!) but have been trying to fool themselves into believing that things will eventually 'work out', please see this film.
Yes its a typical Woody Allen movie, with his deeply intelligent insight into human relationships, but unlike alot of his films, I was actually angry when I finished it. This is no shortcoming of the movie let me tell you, but rather a shortcoming of people (myself included) in general. It was so hard to watch the characters in the film, Sydney Pollack, Mia Farrow, Juliette Lewis, Liam Neeson, etc...enter situations that they knew were doomed from the begininng, out of desperation and loneliness.
Obviously me feeling so strongly after the film shows that it is a subtly powerful film about human relationships and how stubborn we all are when we want something but know its not good for us. See this film please!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars In Love and War, June 11 2001
By 
John R. Bridell (Minneapolis, MN USA) - See all my reviews
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HUSBANDS AND WIVES is Woody Allen's point that nothing is fair about love gone sour as a seasoned mariage breaks apart. You'll find everything funny about a middle-aged, Syd Pollack's hausting affair with a exhuberant young new love. You'll chuckle to death at Judy Davis ex-wife's scheme to find fresh passion as a Single. While the funny stuff is going on, Allen's marriage hits the skids. Well, what the heck? It wouldn't be a Woody Allen film for Woody Allen fans without a few expected laughs over his hopeless struggles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ...and why isn't this film on DVD?, April 11 2001
By 
candiness (Nashville, TN) - See all my reviews
Leonard Cohen wrote, "We asked for signs / The signs were sent / The birth betrayed / The marriage spent." "Husbands and Wives" may be the best take yet on the all-too-familiar conjugal derailment. In a form of self-assessment that sinks Allen like a fondue stick into the Underworld of the Self-Involved, the film manages to make us roar even as it dices up its players, Allen included. Pollack and Davis are particularly superb as their characters' marriage unravels. All of their pent-up acerbity shoots to the surface and just floats there, each spouse becoming more rancorous, brittle, desperately buoyant, and (to us) hilarious. Only a master like Allen could make something so awful seem so funny. The biggest joke, of course, is on Allen himself, but the fact that he knows his laugh lines so well makes the movie painful to watch. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity--but nothing is more vain than the middle-aged man seeking to confirm his sexual viability with a young woman--one who is as hungry for approval and as self-absorbed as the man she sleeps with.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ...and why isn't this film on DVD?, April 11 2001
By 
"joselindo" (Nashville, TN USA) - See all my reviews
Leonard Cohen wrote, "We asked for signs / The signs were sent / The birth betrayed / The marriage spent." "Husbands and Wives" may be the best take yet on the all-too-familiar conjugal derailment. In a form of self-assessment that sinks Allen like a fondue stick into the Underworld of the Self-Involved, the film manages to make us roar even as it dices up its players, Allen included. Pollack and Davis are particularly superb as their characters' marriage unravels. All of their pent-up acerbity shoots to the surface and just floats there, each spouse becoming more rancorous, brittle, desperately buoyant, and (to us) hilarious. Only a master like Allen could make something so awful seem so funny. The biggest joke, of course, is on Allen himself, but the fact that he knows his laugh lines so well makes the movie painful to watch. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity--but nothing is more vain than the middle-aged man seeking to confirm his sexual viability with a young woman--one who is hungry for approval and as self-absorbed as the man she sleeps with.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, well acted drama, Oct. 17 2000
By 
"snlkidsinhall" (Topeka, Kansas United States) - See all my reviews
When watching Woody Allen films you have to understand that his movies piece together like a beautiful mosiac. You see reaccuring themes and characters and conflicts. Allen's films are all amazing, though some of them I care for more than other's, they are all, in a sense, classic.
In "Husbands And Wives" we in get into the lives of two couples in a docu-drama type of way. You feel like you're really watching these things unfold, like you're really part of the action. Afer many years together Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis are calling it quits, splitting up. They tell Woody Allen and his wife Mia Farrow, and they go nuts. "How could this be happening?" After their breakup Allen and Farrow start examining their own marriage and see that they also strive more in life. As Allen and Farrow's relationship is slowly crumbling, Pollack meets a young vegetarian zodiactic gymnist, and after much anxiety Davis meets Liam Neeson, a middle aged man who also just went through a serious relationship. As Allen falls in love with one of his students (Lewis) and Farrow falls for Neeson. We see relationships and dreams fall apart and new ones rise up.
In the end this movie is a wonderful piece of art about marriage and how important it is, and if we truely believe we want to marry someone, we should think it out ALOT ahead of time. It is also about living a life worth living. Being alive and vivacious, and living each moment to the fullest. In the end you see that marital relationships aren't about romance and sex, it's about companionship.
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Husbands and Wives (Bilingual)
Husbands and Wives (Bilingual) by Woody Allen (DVD - 2002)
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