Hannah and Her Sisters (Widescreen) [Import]
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Hannah and Her Sisters (Widescreen) [Import]
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.
The Woody Allen of 1984-6 was a different man: he wanted desperately to be taken seriously as an Artist (ironically his major "serious" influence seems to be Bergman, who always considered himself a "Craftsman"), but found his comedies to be much more successful. So we ended up ricocheting between "Love And Death", "Interiors", "Manhattan", "Stardust Memories", while Woody tried to answer the fundamental questions of life and the universe, and why people preferred his funny movies...
I think he got it with "Hanna..."
Unlike most Allen movies, Hanna's subtext creeps up on you. Sure, he starts with a (comedic) premise (and artistic "thesis"), but instead of hitting you over the head with it, he lets it wander between the characters. Perhaps it's due to the large number of plots (three sisters) and subplots (their relationships), forcing him to spread the material around. For the first (and possibly last) time he seems to coalesce the "Artist vs Entertainer" paradox (as if he couldn't figure out that the two were one) into a single film that is (as far as I can tell) flawless.
Yes, I wrote "flawless".
He pulls out a lot of stops too: a huge (by his standards) cast; multiple voice overs (interior character voices); multiple perspectives; a narrative structure that is complex, yet invisible; a story that is completely unpredictable.
But the most compelling elements in this film are the Characters: they're ALL good!Read more ›
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
Woody Allen has never made a movie appreciably better than 'Hannah.' It may not be his single best (an honor I reserve for 'Manhattan'), but it's on the shortest of short... Read morePublished on July 3 2004 by Everett D. Reese
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
There is a scene near the end of this film where Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her sisters Holly (Dianne Wiest) n"Lee(Barbara Hershey) meet over lunch and the camera slowly circles... Read morePublished on Dec 3 2003 by R. J. Marsella
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
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