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A Rainy Day in New York

October 21, 2021

A Rainy Day in New York (2019)
Director: Woody Allen
Actors: Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez

A Rainy Day in New York' Review: How to Ruin Your Weekend - The New York  Times

Synopsis: A young couple from a posh upstate New York college venture down to New York City for the weekend. Gatsby (Timothée Chalamet) comes from blue-blooded New York stock and is looking to avoid his mother’s birthday party, while his gauche girlfriend, Ashleigh (Elle Fanning), is scheduled to interview a famous film director for her college magazine.

Review: This is yet another example of Woody Allen’s stratospheric obsolescence from anything that could be considered remotely zeitgeisty or vital. It’s the sort of narrative cocktail that only he could find familiar or interesting – populated with the usual puppyish students, middle-aged creatives, and bourgeois power-types. If, in truth, it just about passes as a reasonable farce with a handful of a decent scenes and gags, it can’t negate from the fact this is just so patently unmemorable, and the craftsmanship is more than a little shoddy too.

The early scene of Gatsby and Ashleigh hatching their New York getaway on the Yardley campus is shot in a particularly odd way with the orange side-light infringing far too conspicuously into the frame. Perhaps it’s just a sign that these small errors are missed on a shoot where the director and DP are over 80, but it’s emblematic of this film’s rushed and artless feel.

I previously mentioned the impossibly affluent milieu that Allen frequently places his narratives in, and, although I accept he is, to some extent, spoofing these types, it plays more as a genuine belief in these people’s serio-comic dilemmas. Apart from one good gag about living “hand to mouth” when Gatsby brings his ‘girlfriend’ to his mother’s party, the aftertaste of Allen’s perpetual interest in subplots of young female protagonists and predatory males does linger more in A Rainy Day in New York. Here, we have Elle Fanning’s naïve Ashleigh having to ‘humorously’ run the gauntlet of various male creatives galvanised by her youth and innocence, and there’s the common Allen motif of a prostitute – with the twist this time being that one of the prime upper-class matriarchs was once a hooker too. (October 2021)

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