Hannah and Her Sisters

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

Set over a two-year period, Hannah and Her Sisters follows the numerous exploits of three sisters living in New York and their various friends and family. Hannah (Mia Farrow) seems to have her life most effectively in place. She is an actress, getting back into her work after taking time to raise her children, and is married to her financial adviser husband Elliot (Michael Caine). Elliot however has been harbouring a long-standing infatuation with Hannah’s younger sister Lee (Barbara Hershey), who is in a relationship with standoffish artist Frederick (Max von Sydow). At the apex of Elliot and Lee’s joint feelings of dissatisfaction with their partners, the pair sleep together, and must deal with the ramifications. Meanwhile the third sister, Holly (Dianne Wiest) is a recovering drug addict turned aspiring actress and restaurateur, self-employed as a caterer alongside her friend April (Carrie Fisher), a colleague and competitor for both acting roles and eligible men. Finally Hannah’s ex-husband Mickey (Woody Allen) is a stressed out hypochondriac, whose latest imaginary malady might turn out to be his most serious, and his last.
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Shot completely in a documentary style, complete with narration and interviews with those involved, Zelig tells the story of a man with the ability to transform his appearance, personality and skillset to those around him as a chameleonic defence mechanism. I knew a little of the plot before watching the film, but I found the documentary style to be refreshing, especially the way it limited the lead performances of Woody Allen as Zelig and Mia Farrow as the doctor who falls for him to audio footage, archived interviews and media clips. The film is littered with Allen’s trademark humour and surreal style, and I found the use of different styles of camera to reflect the purpose and technology behind the footage.
Choose life 6/10