You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger: Clever, Quirky Romantic Comedy
Anthony HopkinsGemma Jones...
forty years of marriage, Alfie (Hopkins) wakes up one morning to realise that he’s
lost interest in his life with Helena (Jones), and decides to leave her to find his lost youth and pursue a younger woman. Helena is left distraught and
deeply insecure by Alfie’s departure, and blindly seeks the help of a fortune teller to predict her
for her mother’s well being, Helena’s daughter Sally (Watts) begrudgingly
supports her mother’s actions, while her husband Roy (Brolin) is having enough
trouble dealing with his job as a novelist/writer and isn’t very pleased about this turn of events.
story is set in England and is an ensemble piece; a set of short stories of characters
all indirectly related. It involves realistic scenes depicting married life, spontaneous
affairs and midlife crises, all of which make the film very relatable.
Although marketed as a Woody Allen comedy, the film is definitely a drama with
plenty of unintentionally funny scenes that are typical of Allen’s humour.
nice to see Hopkins in such a role, where he has more liberty to work with his
character than in standard Hollywood blockbusters. While it’s indeed not his best work,
his lines are as entertaining as his performance. Watts is another central character in the film and gives a brilliantly understated performance. Her
on-screen chemistry with Brolin feels like a realistic married relationship.
Brolin himself gives a solid and understated performance as what is ultimately
a secondary character despite his recent rise as one of the most in-demand stars
in Hollywood; the sign of a good actor. Despite his brief scenes, Antonio
Banderas also plays his role as Watt’s boss with ease and charm, and shows
believable attraction towards Watts. Other appearances of note include that of established
British actress Anna Friel and Freida Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire.
is not the first time that Woody Allen has set one of his films in England, having
produced Match Point (2005) to mixed
reception. Unfortunately, like his previous effort, this lacks the charm of
other films set in his backyard of New York. Every film he has made since 1977
has always been compared to Annie Hall, and all have invariably fallen short of
what some consider the perfect blend of romance and comedy.
Nonetheless, this film has a
great director who is in his element with the subject matter, an A-class cast,
and a realistic setting. This reviewer has no qualms in recommending You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger; even
if you’re not a Woody Allen fan.