licence to kill (john glen, 1989)
only lovers left alive (jim jarmusch, 2013)

hannah and her sisters (woody allen, 1986)

This is the movie I chose in honor of the passing of Carrie Fisher. I didn’t want to watch a Star Wars movie. I wish I’d hunted down Shampoo. Fisher does not play Hannah or her sisters, so her part is limited. She’s OK, although I wouldn’t say she was a scene-stealer.

I remember liking Hannah and Her Sisters, and even today, in the post-creepy-Woody era, it’s a good movie (although the presence of a teenaged Soon-Yi Previn is startling). It is not, however, a classic, not as good as I recalled. My connection to Allen’s films is full of holes. Hannah comes during a decent period for Allen, the late-80s, but after Crimes and Misdemeanors in 1989, I don’t think I saw another Woody Allen movie until Vicky Christina Barcelona in 2008. Annie Hall (1976) remains my favorite, Stardust Memories (1980) is by far my least favorite. Of his more recent pictures, I liked Midnight in Paris a lot. But that gap between 1989 and 2008 probably tells the story ... it’s been a long time since I had a burning desire to see what Woody Allen is up to.

Even here, I watched Hannah and Her Sisters because Carrie Fisher was in it.

There are reasons Hannah is an improvement on his other movies of that time. His character is not the main character, and at this point, a little of Woody goes a long way. (One good thing about Midnight in Paris is that Allen uses another actor, Owen Wilson, to play the Woody character.) Hannah and her sisters resemble actual women, and the performances are excellent (Dianne Wiest won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, with Michael Caine winning the Supporting Actor award). I’m partial to Barbara Hershey, and she shines, as well.

But there is something of a “so what” to the movie. I suppose it is relatively optimistic for the Allen World, for what that’s worth. But watching it every 30 years seems about right. #510 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 7/10. (My three favorite films from 1986: A Better Tomorrow, Sid and Nancy, and Aliens.)

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