Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Husbands and Wives

There are three camera styles that repeat themselves over the course of the film. The first is a third-party, narrative style. I don't know the technical term for it, but it's when the camera acts like an extra person watching the action. It is unsteady and moves around a lot, like a real person. The second style is a steady, documentarian shot and has characters speaking directly into the lens, usually responding to off-camera questions. And the third style is mostly traditional with sort of Godardian jump cuts. And then it starts over with the first style. I'm sure a film student could analyze how these styles support the leitmotif of the film, the fickle nature of humans to stick to one thing, namely spouses. But I just boiled it down to a sentence, so you can take my word for it.

So, yes, Husbands and Wives is about not only husbands but also wives who come to that point in a relationship when the romance becomes stale and they want to pursue their own pleasure.

The best lines come from Juliette Lewis, the twenty-year-old student Woody Allen's character falls for. She has been in a string of relationships with older men and she postulates that she is just a "symbol of lost youth or unfulfilled dreams." I've often tried to suggest that the infatuation with younger women wasn't purely sexual. But it is a little hard to believe when it is not isolated to Allen's films.
"Are our choices really between chronic dissatisfaction and suburban drudgery?" she asks him later.
"No, but that's how I'm deliberately distorting it to show how hard it is to be married."

Ok, Woody, we get it. So how about saying something else? As a film, I was kind of bored with it. There were some ok moments in the middle, but otherwise, not so much.

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