Melinda and Melinda

2004

Comedy / Drama / Romance

0
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 31204

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 24, 2021 at 05:57 AM

Director

Cast

Steve Carell as Walt
Josh Brolin as Greg Earlinger
Chloë Sevigny as Laurel
Will Ferrell as Hobie
720p.WEB
910.68 MB
1280*688
English 2.0
PG-13
23.976 fps
1 hr 39 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Chris_Docker 8 / 10

Delightful mix of experimentation, casual self-reflection and fairly well-delivered entertainment

Have you ever had one of those days when life seemed terrible and everything in your world made you miserable?

But then have you had one such day and, in a moment - maybe after a word from a loved one or friend, or a sudden flash of inspiration, or even a physiological stimulus such as a cup of coffee - realised things weren't so miserable after all - maybe even had tears of sorrow turn to tears of laughter? And if those tears keep flowing, aren't they the same tears?

A couple of playwrights, New York intellectuals, are idly discussing the 'life is tragedy or comedy according to your perspective' theme in a Manhattan café. So starts Woody Allen story in Melinda and Melinda. Working from a basic storyline, a girl arriving unannounced at a dinner party, two alternative stories unfold, one comic and one tragic. Both overlap without being identical, in themes, the actress playing the visitor, and sometimes even dialogue.

I started off concentrating hard to make sure I didn't confuse the two interwoven tales, and also concentrating hard to see if a deep philosophical point was going to be made. After half an hour or so I stopped giving too much effort to either and just sat back and enjoyed.

As entertainment, Melinda and Melinda contains so many wonderful ingredients - wit, pathos, hilarity, great acting, suspense, moral intrigue. Visually it's also very pleasing - from the lovingly crafted and vibrant New York interiors of which Allen is so fond, to the eye candy in the form of hunks like Chiwetel Ejiofor (the captivating suitor to one of the Melindas) or the remarkable Chloë Sevigny.

Sevigny, in a supporting role, gives a beautifully nuanced performance. As an actress, she has not relied on her sylph like looks but adamantly stuck to parts in (largely) Independent films that both develop her as an actress and show her commitment and integrity in her profession.

But the main role, that of Melinda(s), is reserved for Radha Mitchell, who has to play both a seriously (and slightly scary) tragic persona, hair and worn features showing her traumatic life, and then moments later the comic Melinda whose madcap gaiety puts a sparkle into proceedings. Both roles are pushed - especially in a scene where each Melinda tries to throw herself from a window. The difference between comedy and tragedy is mostly visible in Melinda.

Woody Allen is a professional filmmaker that consistently churns out movies on a very reasonable budget, some better, some worse, but very rarely is there one that doesn't provide a passable hour and a half of entertainment for the price of admission. There are some people who mostly dislike his work, or are only won over by masterpieces such as Hannah and Her Sisters, or ones that come close, like Deconstructing Harry or Mighty Aphrodite. Melinda and Melinda is probably not in either league, but it is still a very worthwhile accomplishment. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it's a moving film in places and plays with ideas like suspension of belief. And yes, it made me think - but so much so that serious reflection got in the way of pure enjoyment.

There are plenty of flaws - the basic idea never rises above armchair philosophy, there is no great resolution to bring a sense of meaning after the film has finished. The difference between tragedy and comedy for instance, while it might be separated by a hair's breadth in the cosmic scale of things (or within writers' building blocks), is very real for people undergoing real tragedy. Laughter can be justified more easily when it lightens suffering, rather than laughing at it or ignoring it. Cinema has its limits. Interestingly, Allen's cinema has plenty of self-imposed limits that suggest it doesn't take itself too seriously - no expensive special effects, A-List stars only in moderation, no lingering close-ups for actors to practise Oscar-begging expressions; it borrows far more from European than British or American cinema. He seems to get on with the job instead of making it all-important in itself. Even his own philosophising seems not to draw direct attention in his films. "I have an extremely pessimistic outlook and so to me the glass is always empty. Not half empty, but completely empty. My feelings are summed up by the character who says, in effect, that life is basically tragic but there are little islands of comedy in it."

If you have very fixed views about Woody Allen films you will already know whether you want to go and see Melinda and Melinda. For others, you may find that the deft delivery of comedy is worth more than a cursory glance. Allen's prolific output, occasional innovation, and his apparent consistent ability to follow his own agenda rather than that of the big studios mark him as someone to watch both now and by film historians.

Ironically, for someone with such an outlook, he contributes many 'little islands of comedy' to what might be seen as a long-suffering and out of touch industry. I definitely enjoyed this bout of island hopping.

Reviewed by professor_llopin 10 / 10

Woody in full shape

A bunch of guys are discussing philosophy in a bar. Two writers with opposed views on life argue about it: is life tragic or comic? To illustrate their theories, they imagine a story of a woman. The comic writer presents the optimistic, bright tale of Melinda (Radha Mitchell), who just accepts life as it goes by. The tragic writer gives us a destructive, lonesome and troubled Melinda, who deals with depression and suicide. Around the two Melindas we can find a variety of interesting characters: a sincere and kind of shy actor (Will Ferrell) and his ambitious wife (Amanda Peet) in the comic tale; an intellectual woman (Chloe Sevigny) and the gentle pianist (Chiwetel Ejiofor)she falls in love with.

Woody's recent efforts weren't much impressive (yet me and most of critics here liked them), so everyone was a bit skeptical about his next film. Skeptical because it wasn't a proper comedy and because Woody didn't appear in it. Well, after having seen it, I must say this is the best film the man has directed in the last ten years or so (no, I haven't seen Deconstructing Harry). Not only it is wittier, but more transcendental as well. It feels more personal, and its message is clearer and warmer. Woody teaches us a lesson. Let's not get too excited, though. The film itself is not breathtakingly impressive, but it truly delivers, and is overall rewarding. It features plenty of allenisms and classic Woody situations. Precisely one of the correct complaints about the movie is the feeling of déja vu. The film's premise is original (it might even remind of Crimes and Misdemeanors, but believe me: it's pretty different) and very well executed, but the setting and characters all seem a bit familiar.

Nothing wrong with that, though. There's plenty of characters and they're all very well crafted by the director: the protagonist, Melinda, is both believable in its two sides (tragic and comic). Radha Mitchell is excellent in both parts, switching from comedy to drama smoothly. Will Ferrell is great, and I mean great, portraying the allenistic neurotic - he doesn't merely imitate Woody. Ejiofor and Sevigny are also very adequate in their roles. Overall, none of the characters seems forced; they're all believable and honest. I'd like to comment on the cinematography by veteran Vilmos Zsigmond (The Deer Hunter) in his first collaboration with Allen: the photography is by no means revolutionary, but the way the shots were composed was always interesting (a rewatch will help to reinforce this observation).

Woody's direction is masterful as always. I'm fascinated at how he alternates and mixes both stories. The pace and editing are mostly effective, as is the usual jazzy score. The dialogues presented are human and dynamic. This is a throughoutly enjoyable, pleasant exercise on love, infidelity, marriage, life, and so on, which while not being specially mesmerizing nor powerful, is sure enlightening: life is short. We shouldn't see it in a pessimistic way, because that doesn't lead anywhere, nor in an exaggeratedly optimistic way. We just got to accept it and enjoy it, because it can end... like that.

Reviewed by sbucek 8 / 10

Classic Allen

I thought that this film is right out of the classic Woody Allen mode. His theme of having events determined by others -- in this case, the writers -- was reminiscent of his one-act plays, "God" and "Death," and follows the tracks of the worldview he has always explored in his films. It was very well-written and crafted, an enjoyable night at the flicks.

One thing that struck me is that the character played by Will Ferrell is exactly the part that Woody can no longer play because he's too old. It was not long into the film before I discerned that these are lines that Woody had written for himself, the character he'd always played, but a younger man was delivering them for him. And that only added to the charm of the film for me.

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