Al, Louise, Max and Sy - four literary types who work in the theater business - are discussing what they believe to be the real life truths underlying their work, Max who writes primarily tragic plays, and Sy who writes primarily comic plays. Al proceeds to tell them a real story of a troubled woman named Melinda Robicheaux showing up unexpectedly at a door in the middle of an important business dinner party. Melinda long ago left her physician husband to embark on a relationship with who she initially believed to be the man of her dreams, which ended up not being the case. Melinda tries to put her life back together with the help of select people at the dinner party, some who have their own ulterior motives. Melinda's appearance also opens up the cracks existing in the marriage of one of the couples at the dinner party, while it leads to the dissolution of a friendship that has existed since college. With this basic outline of a story, Max and Sy try to make their point of life being...Written by
Winona Ryder was originally cast as Melinda, but was forced to drop out, because no agency would insure her, due to her infamous arrest for shoplifting. Woody Allen stated in the book, "Conversations with Woody Allen", that he wanted to cast Ryder, but he couldn't get a bonding on her. See more »
At the beginning of the movie it is poring with rain and yet not a single car that drives by on the street has its windshield wipers on See more »
You're the piano player.
Not any more. I'm on a break. A mysterious stranger has, uh, temporarily taken over, and I must say she plays beautifully. Hey, are your eyes misting over?
The song... it's meaningful to me. It was playing the night I met someone.
So, are they tears of sorrow or tears of joy?
Well, aren't they the same tears?
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You're either a Woody Allen fan or you aren't. And if you're a Woody Allen fan, you've been disappointed by his last few efforts. Here, he wisely leaves himself out of the acting ensemble (in fact, most of his stock players are absent here, and instead we get the underused and underrated Amanda Peet and the always intriguing Chloe Sevigny), takes an interesting idea (viewing one person's life as a tragedy and as a comedy) and manages to craft his most entertaining film since "Sweet and Lowdown." His dialogue may never be as crisp, witty, and thought-provoking as it was in his heyday, but he still has some clever ideas in him, and "Melinda and Melinda" is his best one in a long while. Here he takes an acting showcase for Radha Mitchell (delightfully light in the comic version, and heartbreakingly heavy in the tragic one) and places it in the center of the typical ensemble piece he has become so accustomed to in his latter days. Will Ferrel is the nicest surprise here. He takes awhile to get used to (like a Robin Williams or a Jim Carey, his larger than life goof ball persona can be distracting in smaller roles), but once you realize he is the character that Woody Allen himself would normally play (you can almost hear a young Woody reciting Will's lines) you'll be treated to a lovely off-kilter performance. In the end, some of the ideas aren't so fully fleshed out, and the comedy isn't as consistently funny as you might like it to be. All in all, however, this is a real treat for Woody Allen fans as long as his recent failures are fresher in your mind than his past masterpieces.
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