You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010) Poster

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)

  • Rate: 6.3/10 total 16,288 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Romance
  • Release Date: 27 August 2010 (Spain)
  • Runtime: USA:98 min
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You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)


You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2010tt1182350.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)
  • Rate: 6.3/10 total 16,288 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Romance
  • Release Date: 27 August 2010 (Spain)
  • Runtime: USA:98 min
  • Filming Location: Albion Riverside, Battersea, London, England, UK
  • Budget: $22,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $3,247,816(USA)(6 February 2011)
  • Director: Woody Allen
  • Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts and Josh Brolin
  • Soundtrack: Laser Luxe
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital (Mono)
  • Plot Keyword: Charlatan | Manuscript | Fortune Teller | Call Girl | Writer

Writing Credits By:

  • Woody Allen (written by)

Known Trivia

  • Nicole Kidman was cast in the lead role but dropped out. Lucy Punch would later accept the role.
  • Before Lucy Punch replaced Nicole Kidman, Carice van Houten was considered to replace her.
  • Anna Friel filmed her role in a day.
  • Monique Alfradique auditioned for the film, but didn’t get the part.
  • Celia Imrie filmed her role in a day, and said that she accepted the part even though it was small because Woody Allen was such a “legend”. Her scenes with Anthony Hopkins, however, never made it into the final cut.
  • The line that Roy uses to court Sally (“So much depends on a red wheelbarrow glazed with rainwater beside the white chickens”) is actually a poem by William Carlos Williams. It’s unclear whether Sally’s character knew that or whether Roy stole it for himself (setting up a bit of foreshadowing).
  • First feature film directed by Woody Allen that is not produced by Charles H. Joffe. Joffe, who had worked with Allen for nearly 40 years, died in July 2008.

Goofs: Continuity: It is raining hard when Ray takes Ria to lunch, but dry as they approach the apartment building.

Plot: Follows a pair of married couples, Alfie (Hopkins) and Helena (Jones), and their daughter Sally (Watts) and husband Roy (Brolin)… See more » |  »

Story: Follows a pair of married couples, Alfie (Hopkins) and Helena (Jones), and their daughter Sally (Watts) and husband Roy (Brolin), as their passions, ambitions, and anxieties lead them into trouble and out of their minds. After Alfie leaves Helena to pursue his lost youth and a free-spirited call girl named Charmaine (Punch), Helena abandons rationality and surrenders her life to the loopy advice of a charlatan fortune teller. Unhappy in her marriage, Sally develops a crush on her handsome art gallery owner boss, Greg (Banderas), while Roy, a novelist nervously awaiting the response to his latest manuscript, becomes moonstruck over Dia (Pinto), a mystery woman who catches his gaze through a nearby window.Written by Sony Pictures Classics  

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Letty Aronson known as producer
  • Nicky Kentish Barnes known as co-producer
  • Mercedes Gamero known as associate producer
  • Javier Méndez known as executive producer
  • Helen Robin known as co-producer
  • Jack Rollins known as co-executive producer
  • Jaume Roures known as producer
  • Stephen Tenenbaum known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Gemma Jones known as Helena Shebritch
  • Pauline Collins known as Cristal
  • Anthony Hopkins known as Alfie Shepridge
  • Rupert Frazer known as Jogging Partner
  • Kelly Harrison known as Personal Trainer
  • Naomi Watts known as Sally Channing
  • Josh Brolin known as Roy Channing
  • Freida Pinto known as Dia
  • Eleanor Gecks known as Rollerblading Friend
  • Antonio Banderas known as Greg
  • Fenella Woolgar known as Jane
  • Ewen Bremner known as Henry Strangler
  • Christian McKay known as Poker Friend
  • Philip Glenister known as Poker Friend
  • Jonathan Ryland known as Poker Friend
  • Pearce Quigley known as Poker Friend
  • Neil Jackson known as Alan
  • Lynda Baron known as Alfie's Date
  • Robert Portal known as Jewelry Shop Salesman
  • Lucy Punch known as Charmaine
  • Jim Piddock known as Peter Wicklow
  • Roger Ashton-Griffiths known as Jonathan
  • Anna Friel known as Iris
  • Theo James known as Ray
  • Christopher Fulford known as Ray's Friend
  • Johnny Harris known as Ray's Friend
  • Alex MacQueen known as Malcolm Dodds
  • Anupam Kher known as Dia's Parents
  • Meera Syal known as Dia's Parents
  • Joanna David known as Alan's Parents
  • Geoffrey Hutchings known as Alan's Parents
  • Natalie Walter known as Alan's Sister
  • Shaheen Khan known as Dia's Aunt
  • Amanda Lawrence known as Medium
  • Zak Orth known as Narrator (voice)
  • David Orpheus known as Passerby (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Francesco Alberico known as hair stylist
  • Uxue Laguardia known as makeup artist
  • Sharon Martin known as hair designer
  • Sharon Martin known as makeup designer
  • Sophie Slotover known as makeup artist
  • Rachael Speke known as crowd hair/makeup artist: daily

Art Department:

  • Alan Bailey known as property master
  • Stephen Conway known as dressing props
  • Mike Cuddy known as prop storeman
  • Paul Duff known as construction manager
  • Veronica Falzon known as researcher
  • Gill Farr known as production buyer
  • Dave Fisher known as chargehand standby props
  • Dean Fisher known as standby props
  • Natasha Jones known as art department assistant
  • Heather Pollington known as graphic designer
  • Richard Selway known as standby art director
  • Tim Timmington known as painter




Production Companies:

  • Mediapro (presents)
  • Versátil Cinema (presents)
  • Gravier Productions (presents)
  • Antena 3 Films (in association with)
  • Antena 3 Televisión (as Antena 3 TV) (in association with)
  • Dippermouth

Other Companies:

  • Arion Facilities  HD dailies telecine transfer
  • Casting Collective  extras casting
  • Dolby Laboratories  sound mix
  • Kodak  motion picture film supplier
  • Milan Records  soundtrack
  • Movie Lot, The  security
  • Panalux  lighting equipment provided by
  • Panavision UK  camera equipment provided by
  • Production Copier Company  production equipment and services
  • Rightway Film Services  negative cutting
  • West Trend Apartments  accommodation agent


  • Alfa Films (2011) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • Central Partnership Ukraine (2010) (Belarus) (theatrical)
  • Central Partnership Ukraine (2010) (Georgia) (theatrical)
  • Central Partnership Ukraine (2010) (Kazakhstan) (theatrical)
  • Central Partnership Ukraine (2010) (Ukraine) (theatrical)
  • Concorde Filmverleih (2010) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • Frenetic Films (2010) (Switzerland) (theatrical)
  • Medusa (2010) (Italy) (theatrical)
  • Mongrel Media (2010) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Paradiso Entertainment (2010) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Paradiso (2010) (Belgium) (theatrical)
  • Paradiso (2011) (Luxembourg) (theatrical)
  • Scanbox Entertainment (2010) (Denmark) (theatrical)
  • Scanbox Entertainment (2010) (Iceland) (theatrical)
  • Scanbox Entertainment (2010) (Norway) (theatrical)
  • Scanbox Entertainment (2010) (Sweden) (theatrical)
  • Sony Pictures Classics (2010) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Sun Distribution (2010) (Bolivia) (theatrical) (Latin America)
  • Sun Distribution (2010) (Cuba) (theatrical) (Latin America)
  • Sun Distribution (2010) (Mexico) (theatrical) (Latin America)
  • Sun Distribution (2010) (Peru) (theatrical) (Latin America)
  • Village Films (2010) (Greece) (theatrical)
  • Warner Bros. (2010) (France) (theatrical)
  • Zon Lusomundo Audiovisuais (2010) (Portugal) (theatrical)
  • CatchPlay (2010) (Taiwan) (all media)
  • Film1 (2011) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
  • Panorama Distributions (2011) (Hong Kong) (DVD)
  • Panorama Distributions (2011) (Hong Kong) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Paradiso Home Entertainment (2011) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Paris Filmes (2010) (Brazil) (all media)
  • Prorom Media-Trade (2010) (Romania) (all media)
  • Scanbox Entertainment (2010) (Finland) (all media)
  • Transeuropa Video Entertainment (TVE) (2011) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Zon Lusomundo Audiovisuais (2011) (Portugal) (all media)



Other Stuff

Release Date:
  • France 15 May 2010 (Cannes Film Festival)
  • Spain 27 August 2010
  • Finland 29 August 2010 (Espoo Film Festival)
  • France 11 September 2010 (Deauville American Film Festival)
  • Canada 12 September 2010 (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • USA 22 September 2010 (limited)
  • Brazil 24 September 2010 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
  • Greece 26 September 2010 (Athens Film Festival)
  • Canada 1 October 2010 (Toronto)
  • Canada 1 October 2010 (Vancouver)
  • France 6 October 2010
  • Switzerland 6 October 2010 (French speaking region)
  • Belgium 14 October 2010 (Gent International Film Festival)
  • Mexico 19 October 2010 (Morelia International Film Festival)
  • Belgium 20 October 2010
  • Israel 21 October 2010
  • Brazil 22 October 2010 (São Paulo International Film Festival)
  • Netherlands 26 October 2010 (Leids Film Festival)
  • Greece 28 October 2010
  • Finland 29 October 2010
  • Sweden 29 October 2010
  • Denmark 25 November 2010
  • Brazil 26 November 2010
  • Germany 2 December 2010
  • Switzerland 2 December 2010 (German speaking region)
  • Austria 3 December 2010
  • Italy 3 December 2010
  • Netherlands 16 December 2010
  • Estonia 23 December 2010
  • Uruguay 26 December 2010
  • Mexico 14 January 2011
  • Portugal 20 January 2011
  • Romania 28 January 2011
  • Argentina 3 February 2011
  • Lithuania 4 February 2011
  • Kazakhstan 17 February 2011
  • Russia 17 February 2011
  • Serbia 1 March 2011 (Belgrade Film Festival)
  • Poland 11 March 2011
  • Indonesia 16 March 2011
  • Ireland 18 March 2011
  • UK 18 March 2011
  • Hungary 12 May 2011
  • Chile 19 May 2011
  • Venezuela 5 August 2011
  • Peru 22 December 2011

MPAA: Rated R for some language



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 29, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , .


  1. runamokprods from US
    29 Mar 2012, 8:17 pm

    An odd film for Allen, neither an overt comedy or one of his darkserious films (e.g. 'Crimes and Misdemeanors'). This is a 'light'drama, something he hasn't done much. While far from Allen's best work,I felt more warmly towards it than most of the press, especially aftera second viewing. Some of the criticisms are valid; the voice overnarration feels out of tone with the film, and at times tells us tooliterally what we already know. Yet, in the current American cinema,how many film-makers are getting to even and try and address thecomplex subtle questions of grown-up relationships, aging and the fearof death, and the lies we tell ourselves to get through it all? Or dealwith the paradox that humans seem to need something to believe in, andyet that same belief can also lead us astray? Or give great olderactors like Anthony Hopkins and Gemma Jones really meaty roles? As longas Allen keeps asking questions, he'll remain a voice worth listeningto.

  2. dromasca from Herzlya, Israel
    29 Mar 2012, 8:17 pm

    Something is happening to Woody Allen … or to me … not clearexactly what, but I started to like more his latest films.

    With this movie Allen is back in England, but there is very littleBritishness in this movie excepting the setting and the opening quoteof Shakespeare. To the same extent the story could have happened inManhattan, or some other corner of Allenland. The quote that Imentioned is about the meaning of life, and it leaves nothing to fateor to higher goals in our lives, but rather a lot to chance and totrying to find a support that makes us overcome hurdles, any support,be it a dream, or a cheap superstition, or even a cheat. The Tall DarkStranger in the title can be a handsome male the women in the moviedream about, or maybe the dark end that expects each of us at thefinish line.

    Each of the characters in the film finds his own cheat or lie or fraudto rely upon. Helena Shepridge (wonderful British actress Gemma Jones)is abandoned by her husband Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) and finds refugeand advice in a fake fortune-teller who tells her what she wants tohear. If her fortune-teller is a real person, the other characters canbe said to have private virtual fortune-tellers of their own. Alfiemarries a prostitute half his age in a vain attempt to win back hislost youth, just to find himself deceived as expected. Helena'sdaughter Sally (Naomi Watts) fantasizes about an affair with her richboss gallery owner (Antonio Banderas). Her husband, Roy (Josh Brolin)unsuccessfully tries to sell his second novel, then fate and fraudcombine to help him make an apparent jump ahead which allows him todare cheat on his wife and date the neighbor in the near-by buildingwhich he observes in a Peeping Tom manner that allows Allen to quoteHitchcock. Each of the character has ups and downs, actually more downsthen ups, but we are in Woody Allen movies, nobody is really hungry,suffering is existential, and despite all problems in life there isalways money for good meals and whiskey.

    The story can actually end at any point in time, ten minutes earlier orten minutes later. Each of the characters goes through convulsions offate, but the story and the film must end, as everything ends, but donot look for meanings about the ending, it just ends. The combinationof skillful story telling and abrupt ending works well. As the end isnot served on the tray it is the spectator who needs to fill it in withsome meaning, if there is a meaning. Yet, the overall impression is ofhaving seen a piece of life as Woody Allen understands life, and it isfunny and well acted, as the actors seem comfortable enough in WoodyAllen's films, they like acting here, and in some cases they give someof the best roles (I liked the performances of Brolin, Jones andWatts).

    There are little things that I know about the next year (no fortunetelling skills, sorry), but one if them is that for sure there will bea new film by Woody Allen on the screens. Maybe it will be about adirector making one movie each year, I do not know. Chances are that Iwill like it.

  3. summerfilmsonbigscreen
    29 Mar 2012, 8:17 pm

    Woody Allen's latest, the aptly titled You Will Meet A Tall DarkStranger is a tragicomic tale of dysfunctional families, spiced with alittle woo-woo. Needless to say, a familiar concept to Allen. This timeit's two generations of middle class Londoners trying to get by andsearch for happiness, mainly on the romantic front, and the woo-woothat connects the stories together comes in the form of a fortuneteller.

    Look at the accomplished cast. If you like their previous work, youwill not be disappointed with what they bring to their roles. Keep inmind the characters are pretty much all written as selfish types, andnot too bright. The misadventures they get into are all self inflicted- the fortune teller's stars neither help nor peril, unless they letthem.

    Nonetheless you will get embarrassed for the characters and thesituations they get themselves into, and just when the state of affairsreach their pinnacle, Allen shifts gear and detaches the viewer. Thisis an intentional habit of his (his films are unashamed entertainment),perhaps alienating some fans of heavier drama but it works for me. Thestoryline of Roy (Josh Brolin) and his literary activities is a fineexample. The affair between Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) and Charmaine (LucyPunch) another. In Allen's films things always gravitate towardsabsurd, yet without losing touch of cinematic reality. I thought Greg(Antonio Banderas) delivered the best line: "You see… how beautifuland ironic life is".

    Though there is no actual main character of whose view point the vieweris invited to take, two women, mother Helena (Gemma Jones) and daughterSally (Naomi Watts) are at the center of it all. The mother keepsseeing the fortune teller (Pauline Collins) and insists spreading her"advice" to less enthusiastic daughter who doesn't object as long asthe news are good. Allen has a knack for showing things from women'spoint of view, and Naomi Watts' role would have fit Mia Farrow – DianeKeaton not so much – in the past.

    Another Allen trait is his (over)use of narration, present here aswell. It fits the style but seems to somehow take away re-watch value,and affords the film maker to get lazy with proper pacing. The PurpleRose Of Cairo (1985) didn't need it, did it? But then again it didn'thave gags involving viagra or stds either, so perhaps this isn't thebest comparison (take it as a parental advisory instead).

    I usually admire the cinematography in Woody Allen films. For his bestof recent years, take a look at Scoop (2006) and see how marvellous itlooks. But not anymore. Mr. Allen, you definitely should not switch toa hand-held camera when the drama gets physical. Therefore I give thisfilm only a 7/10.

  4. Gloede_The_Saint from Norway
    29 Mar 2012, 8:17 pm

    The goofy comedian has always been a pessimist. True love has neverexisted in his films and his couples rarely find happiness together.Despite of this, his films has never been as scary as this.

    What started as comedic twists and a taste of the bittersweet life hasslowly evolved into a harsh, but tragically honest depiction of life.With You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger the evolution seems to havebeen perfected.

    The goofiness is basically gone and what's left plays like a drama withdarkly humorous undertones. But it might just as well play as an horrorfilm. Tragic, raw and beautiful. It's not his best, god knows he hasdone a lot of great work, but it's by far his most "pure" work to date.

    Is delusions the only plays you can find happiness? Is the ideas oflove and friendship simply a charade we hide behind? Do we simply getbored of each other? You know there's at least some truth here, butthough I'm not ready to accept it all the very thought of it gives mechills.

    Conveyed with such fabulous performances, particularly from GemmaJones, and as is often the case with Allen, one heck of a script, Allencreates the perfect atmosphere. To put it in the simplest way possible- this is pretty close to being the perfect feel bad movie.

  5. Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    29 Mar 2012, 8:17 pm

    In London, Helena Shebritch (Gemma Jones) has a broken heart since herhusband Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) had had a third age crisis and left herseeking his lost youth. She meets the charlatan fortune teller CristalDelgiorno (Pauline Collins) and follows her esoteric advices believingin the power of prophecy. Alfie meets the younger call girl CharmaineFoxx (Lucy Punch) and proposes her. Meanwhile, their daughter SallyChanning (Naomi Watts) has financial difficulties with her husband andaspirant writer Roy Channing (Josh Brolin). Roy is graduated in medicalschool but has never worked as a doctor since he had written asuccessful first novel and decided to follow the career of writer buthe never succeeds in writing a good second novel. Sally starts workingin the Geller Gallery and has a crush on her handsome boss Greg(Antonio Banderas), while Roy peeps and flirts through the window withhis neighbor Dia (Freida Pinto) that is always dressed in red. WhenRoy's poker friend Henry Strangler, who had written a magnificent noveland showed only to Roy, has a fatal car accident with their other pokerfriend Mike, Roy misunderstands that Strangler died and he steals hismanuscript that is successfully accepted by the editor to be published.

    Their lives change when Helena meets a widower that is her twin souland Alfie finds that he is a cuckold and Charmaine is pregnant. Roy andSally split, and Sally, who had fantasized an affair with her boss,finds that Greg sees her as a co-worker and friend only. Further, hermother will no longer lend a large amount to her to open her owngallery following Cristal's advice. And Roy, who moved to Dia'sapartment, finds that Strangler has not died but is in coma instead.

    "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" is a witty and ironic tale offantasies and the power of prophecy by Woody Allen. The black humorgoverns the situations that each character has to face and the pricethey have to pay with their fantasies and attitudes. Alfie has tosupport a slut as the price for his belief that he could be youngeragain and have a son. Sally is unmarried and unemployed for believingthat her boss desires her and her mother will help her to open her owngallery. Roy is in trouble since he has built his new life based on thenovel of his friend that seems to be recovering. Only the naive andirrational Helena is happy in her lunatic world and reality. My vote isseven.

    Title (Brazil): "Você Vai Conhecer o Homem dos Seus Sonhos" ("You WillMeet the Man of Your Dreams")

  6. beglenrice from Brookville, New York
    29 Mar 2012, 8:17 pm

    This is a good movie and I would watch five minutes of a Woody Allenmovie rather than see 95% of the movies out there. Not to getsidetracked, but it's not ambitious so you don't have to know whathappens exactly, you don't have to have it gift-wrapped, it just is,but it didn't set itself up to be groundbreaking philosophicalconceptual contrived tripe. It's just a film, as Mr. Allen reminds uswith his pretentiously mundane American voice-over narrator. Whichturns the focus onto the characters and relationships. Which is a goodplace to be when you have great actors. I really enjoyed the film. Butthe main thing I felt compelled to say (and I haven't written anythingon here in years) is that Anthony Hopkins is so good, I haven't beenable to stop thinking about it. It's hardly a 'crowning achievement' tohis career, but it is to me, because he so earnestly and vulnerablyperformed this role, it defied many things (I'll name two): 1) his owncareer and his tendency to portray epic characters and all thatintelligent bravado within.. in the movie he is completely defeatedwithout even a proper stage, a flimsy (intentionally) comedy he has nobusiness being in (of course he does), in which his character isconfronted with mortality and insignificance, and ultimately therelevant question I know he must ask himself, and seeing him deal withthat in the smallness of the medium was astounding. Truly astounding.Because also 2) He shatters the Woody Allen film formula stereotype. Iwas expecting the Anthony Hopkins version of Woody Allen, and there wassome of that, a la Kenneth Branaugh in Celebrity. But whether it wasall Hopkins or all Allen or both his portrayal rejects the typicalneurotic response to Allen's comio-dramatic situations and insteadshows us a golden vein of truth that for me was completely unexpected,impeccably performed and very moving. I had been a huge Hopkins fansince Nixon and in recent years had become leery of his projects to theextent I didn't bother to consider going to see them anymore. But Iknew the combination of Woody Allen and he would be something special.For Allen fans, to me his acting breaks the Allen mold, crushes it, andI left the theater a bit unnerved and touched. I haven't read anyoneelse comment on this in a similar way and had to say something.

  7. napierslogs from Ontario, Canada
    29 Mar 2012, 8:17 pm

    In "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" we are swiftly introduced tothe complicated plot with who is married to whom, who is cheating withwhom, and who is in love with whom. I found that the slowest part. Iwasn't able to find much of Allen's underlying comedy in all of thecriss-crossing relationships.

    The comedy comes with the arrival of Charmaine (Lucy Punch) – the"actress" that Anthony Hopkins is marrying. I found it interesting thatat the sight of this most ludicrous relationship, the other characters,all at various stages of mid-life crises, then pushed forward to gettheir lives and relationships sorted out. Allen didn't spend much timeanalyzing the various loves and consequences, more just saying herethey are, you can laugh at them if you wish. I laughed a little bit.

    I found that Anthony Hopkins and Lucy Punch stood out of this all-starcast. Hopkins' character, nearing 70, married the much younger Punchand joined a gym after suffering his mid-life crisis. Antonio Banderasplayed a gallery owner and I was quite impressed with his subtle comedyand muted sexual presence. Josh Brolin played the neurotic writer thatAllen himself would have played in earlier years. At first he seemedout-of-place, but I think that's part of the joke, and like Banderas, Iwas impressed with his subtle comedy.

    I am a Woody Allen devotee, and although I found "You Will Meet a TallDark Stranger" lacks most of his intelligent wit, it still had hissubtle jabs at his characters who each represent facets of today'ssociety. And I still recommend it because it's better than most otherfilms you can find.

  8. Guy Lanoue from Canada
    29 Mar 2012, 8:17 pm

    This latest offering from the pen of Woody Allen has several thingsgoing for it: like some other recent offerings, he stays behind thecamera and spares us his usual Look at Me Ma How Quirky I am 'Cause I'mIronic and Self-Depracating and So Can Attract Beautiful 20-Somethingspersona, which is wearing a little thin with age. He also has roundedup a wonderful yet slightly unusual (for him) stable of ensembleactors, each of which is individually talented and subtle enough to bea worthy subject for a full blown study. On the other hand, there isthe usual (since Annie Hall) Allen characterisation, which has alwaysinexplicably passed for "deep", but which in reality is based on peopleexploring the egoistical aspects of their libidos by burying theunderlying narcissism under a barrage a self-actualising rhetoric,which in turn is supposed to be rendered less offensive by a not-so-subsubtext of masturbatory self-doubt so highly ritualised that it neveractually acts as a barrier or even conscience to their self-indulgence.Allen, of course, after decades of perfecting this shtick, has thisunderlying psychological mechanism down to a science. Allen has alwaysgotten away with this by making sure his quirky intellectual personaattracted sympathetic actors, whose decency manages to come out in thiskabuki-like Punch and Judy show between good (self-sacrifice) and evil(usually, sexual narcissism). I'm rambling, but all this to say that Iam always uncomfortable with Allen movies because I feel they have anelement of cheating, because in the end these irritating characters arepulled along and made believable by his craft: he knows how to pacemovies and intersperse the dialogue with clever one-liners. This is noexception. What makes it more charming than previous efforts is the ageof the main characters, which strips away some of the usualpsychobabble that exposes their underlying narcissism as the frail andpathetic pose it is, gaining our overt sympathy and secret empathy (forfear that we don't end up like them, susceptible to and even thirstingfor any flattery that comes our way). In other words, who cannot likeAnthony Hopkins and especially Gemma Jones, no matter what the foiblesof their characters? As usually with Allen movies, he has a lightdirectorial touch (apparently), so his actors' innate talent will out.Jones is especially good, and Hopkins as usual can make any weaknesslikable (if he could do it with a psychotic cannibal, imagine here witha much more banal delayed male mid life crisis). Brolin and Watts aregood as Hopkin's and Jones' younger counterparts, and Watts is goodenough to project her fascination and attraction with her sexy bossBanderas in subtle yet believable terms. Allen of course is intelligentand actually knows and understand some of the psychology upon which hebuilds his characters, so we get lots of great touches, such asdressing the older Hopkins and Jones in white to subtly underline theirfar from virginal status, and Brolin's would-be muse in passionate redin contrast to Brolin's blah beige (he is a semi-failed writer).Banderas as the object of Watt's lust is appropriate and sexy inmysterious black, and so on. After all these years, Allen knows how tomake movies that appeal to the intellectual snob in all of us. And yetdespite my reluctance to commit fully to Allen, for the reasons I triedto lay out, better one of his movies than 99% of the formulaic dreckout there.

  9. Galina from Virginia, USA
    29 Mar 2012, 8:17 pm

    You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, the latest Woody Allen's film islight, airy, lacy, elegant, sad, bittersweet and tender, just like aBoccherini musical piece for guitar that a beautiful young woman wasplaying sitting next to the window in a London apartment/flat. It isalso funny, sharp, mocks the absurdity of existence, and manages tohighlight the insignificance and callousness of the characters yet notto judge them while letting them search for "bell' alma inamorata", andare not we all searching? Allen is still the master of his craft, thecreator of charming dra-medies. His favorite and constant themes oflives and deaths of the relationships, of growing older and refusing toaccept it, of trying to postpone the inevitable meeting with a "talldark stranger", of struggle to find the reason in a tale, "full ofsound and fury", are all here. But he knows how to look at the familiarmaterial from the unusual angle by mixing masterfully humor andseriousness, light touch and insight in the right proportions toexplore the desires, longings, and motivations of the characters. Oneof the themes Allen was interested while working on the Tall DarkStranger was faith in something because it is for humans to prefer thepower of self-delusions over the darkness of bitter truths. He said:"This sounds so bleak when I say it, but we need some delusions to keepus going. And the people who successfully delude themselves seemhappier than the people who can't." Sounds too serious but it isAllen's film, and is ironic, witty, and light. I ask myself why I loveAllen's films so much and always wait for them impatiently. One of thereasons, he makes them for adults and about adults. His targetaudiences want to see a clever intelligent film without beingmanipulated or spoon fed. I admire Allen for respecting his viewers: "Inever write down to them. I always assume that they're all as smart asI am . . . if not smarter". Or, more likely, I love his films becausethe beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and my eyes are always opento the beauty of his films. They are so perfectly constructed andframed. They look and sound terrific. While watching them, I don'tunderstand how can they not be liked and admired by everyone? His shortfilms are not small to me. I need them and I always will.

  10. Jizdenky from Fraggle Rock
    29 Mar 2012, 8:17 pm

    Set this time in England, Woody Allen once again invites us into aworld of irony and people wanting 'better' than what they have as theirpresent does not fulfill their satisfaction. The title is quite open tointerpretation. It gives the impression of 'the prince charming' thatstraight women fantasize about and dream to end up with. However, thereis also another hint which refers to the chaperon who is waiting at thefinish line. Rather than exploring, this time Allen just gives us aglimpse into the lives of his key characters. All the characters are inan unfulfilling relationship. Helena (Gemma Jones) is abandoned byAlfie (Anthony Hopkins) and seeks comfort in a prostitute (Lucy Punch)younger than his own daughter. His daughter Sally (Naomi Watts)fantasizes about her boss (Antonio Banderas) while her husband (JoshBrolin) struggles to finish his novel until he peeps at Dia (FriedaPinto), his neighbour.

    While many felt the ending to be abrupt, there is a certain irony toit, where the characters who were seeking more than what they hadcontinue to be unsatisfied, while those who were satisfied with whatthey had and lose it, find that happiness again (like the two idiots atthe end). Allen's writing is faulty in places. For example, when Royreveals to Dia how he had been peeping at her through their windows,instead of being concerned or excited, she acts as though his behaviourwas that of a gentleman.

    On the technical side, the film is well shot, in the typical WoodyAllen (70s and 80s) fashion. The cinematography and soundtrack areamusing. The sets look polished but not staged.

    Allen assembles a strong cast. Most of the performances are excellent.Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Naomi Watts and Lucy Punch own theirscenes. Antonio Banderas too shines in a subtle performance and JoshBrolin is great as the self-centered writer. Freida Pinto was theweakest link. In all fairness, her character suffered from flawedwriting.

    While this may not rank among Allen's best work, it's still worth awatch especially for those who enjoyed the kind of cinema he made inthe 70s and 80s.

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