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Melinda and Melinda

September 5, 2010

Melinda and Melinda (2004)
Director: Woody Allen
Actors: Radha Mitchell, Will Ferrell, Chloe Sevigny

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Synopsis: Melinda’s (Radha Mitchell) life is played out as comedy and tragedy.

ReviewMelinda and Melinda’s central dramatic crux – life can be viewed as either comedy or tragedy – is hardly the most original thesis ever spouted, and it’s not exactly given the most stringent treatment by Allen here. It does however enable him to set up a twin narrative mechanism that is entertaining enough, and is also an extremely good showcase for a cacophony of top international film actors (Radha Mitchell, Chloe Sevigny, Amanda Peet and Chiwetel Ejiofor are just a number of names who acquit themselves well). In truth, the tragic segment is probably more involving than the comic strand, and it’s never entirely clear why the latter is even considered comic when it is more a light-hearted romance and relies essentially on the viewer finding “Will Ferrell inhabiting the Woody Allen persona” funny. Perhaps I am judging this film with a touch of nostalgia, and admiring how lightly and pleasurably Allen was able to riff on his usual Manhattan environ, before he slipped into incredibly impersonal and mediocre work in Europe. (June 2009)

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