Celebrity

Synopsis: Takes a look at the pleasure and the pitfalls of fame and fortune as the lives of a newly divorced couple take different turns. They travel down a path paved with movie stars and supermodels. Kenneth Branagh, Judy Davis, Leonardo DiCaprio and Winona Ryder star.
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Celebrity 5.5

I wanted to like this. I had seen it once before and was underwhelmed by it so, after watching a more sober affair prior, I decided that I might be more open to the humour and various situations in ‘Celebrity’.

It turns out that nothing could salvage this film for me.

For starters, it feels like a movie composed of vignettes, and yet it follows the story of a divorced couple in a semi-linear fashion, as they both try to carry on their separate lives. Somehow it feels incomplete, as though it was a cohesive -yet rambling- picture.

Secondly, the two main actors are totally miscast. While I adore Kenneth Branagh and he did an incredible job of playing the neurotic, love-challenged writer, no one can pull it off quite like Woody Allen does. In Branagh’s hands, he feels like a schlep – but it’s not his fault (it’s the way the character is written!), and the same thing happened to John Cusack in ‘Bullets Over Broadway’.

Judy Davis, who was a fixture in Allen’s films at the time, plays the messed up female lead. She did a credible job, but she came off as a totally inlikeable mess – so totally insecure, shrill and pessimistic that it’s difficult to imagine her love interests -let alone the audience- seeing anything in her.

The whole time, I kept wondering how it would have played out with Woody Allen and Mia Farrow in their places – not a good sign. Mia Farrow would have brought a quiet dignity to the character and played her a bit more subdued, and Woody Allen would have mined the character’s humour along the way. That would have been an improvement.

Still, the movie would have felt flat. It’s just not a great story and it’s hobbled together. The magic is not there, and it’s probably one of my least-favourite Woody Allen films. They can’t all be winners, I guess.

(on a side-note, it also felt like Allen, who writes semi-biographically, was going through a rough patch in his personal and professional life, so the end result is hardly surprising)

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