Husbands and Wives
When the long-standing partners, Jack and Sally (Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis), announce to their long-standing friends, Gabe and Judy (Woody Allen and Mia Farrow), that they are about to part ways, life suddenly seems to spiral completely out of control.
Like what, for instance? Well...
JACK AND SALLY'S STORY...
Three weeks after their split, Sally finds out that her ex-husband, Jack, has found himself a new lover, called Sam (Lysette Anthony), who is a lot younger than she is by quite a few years.
Obviously, this turn up for the books really upsets Sally. But don't you worry, though, folks. Over time she comes to terms with Jacks new state of play thanks to her close friends, Gabe and Judy, and she begins living the single life she always dreamt about. Moreover, when Judy introduces Sally to Mike (Liam Neeson), one of her work colleges, Sally becomes a couple once again. Not that her ex-Husband, Jack, likes the sound of this news either.
Still. What can he do about it? Huh? Fight? Scream? Re-Unite?
GABE AND JUDY'S STORY...
Judy is very disturbed when she hears the sad news that her best friends, Jack and Sally, are separating. In fact, she becomes so disturbed, she subconsciously pushes away her husband, Gabe, whilst at the same time focusing all of her energies in helping out Sally.
As for Gabe on the other hand, well, he is upset that his friends have separated. Agreed. Yet at the same time he is also intrigued by one of his pupils, called Rain (Juliette Lewis), who is a very good writer.
Now as time passes, both teacher and pupil get to know each other on many different levels. For example, Rain tells Gabe about her attraction to older men, whilst Gabe allows Rain to read his unpublished manuscript, despite Judy eventually leaving him for another man, thus paving the way for him to make a pass at Rain.
Alright. I know what you're thinking, folks? So is Gabe successful with his advances towards his pupil? Plus who is Sally new man? Want to find out more? Fair enough. But I'll have to warn you, it's always a question between Husbands and Wives!
In my most humble opinion, 'Husbands and Wives' is Woody Allen’s answer to the question: ‘Why do some relationships work, whilst other relationships don’t?’. Yeah. I'm not kidding you, pal. This is the type of film that makes you think about the true nature of human relationships, as well as it being a cathartic and revealing project for Woody to cast onto celluloid.
And why would it be revealing, you may ask yourself. Well, most of Woody’s films -- especially those made in the eighties and the nineties -- work on a very personal level. It is as though these films are a form of therapy for him. Giving him the opportunity to work out something that is niggling inside his brain.
Mia Farrow separated, just so they could deliberately cash in on the media coverage surrounding their turbulent divorce. Yes. It worked. Big time. (6) Jeffrey Kurland had two jobs on this film. He was a costume designer first, and he was the narrator second. (7) Woody went on record and said that he thought this was one of the best films he ever made, because he tried to defy all the rules of film-making, by obscuring and tampering with the normal conventions. (8) Originally Mia Farrow was going to play Judy Davis' part in this picture, and visa-versa. But because it had an easier work schedule, she wanted to play the part of the cuckolded housewife instead.
For me, it's these particular aspects that makes this movie that much more compelling to watch. Not only does it conform to a more direct method of communication, but it also allows for back-story and character to develop at a more understandable rate.
Oh! And as for the characters in themselves, all definite 'Woody Allen' archetypes, for sure. With Judy the fidgety female. Sydney the man in a mid-life crisis. Juliette the vixen. Liam the hopeless romantic. Mia the needy homebody. And Woody the Woody (obviously of the more mature statue now). Furthermore, I have to say that they all pull off some very powerful performances in their respective roles -- especially Judy and Juliette -- who just exhume the characters they play like women possessed.
Hmmm. Just like marriage I suppose, ha! Nuff said.
THE RATING: A-