Year of Release: 2015
Director: Woody Allen
Approx. Running Time: 95 minutes
My Rating: 4 stars (Out of 5)
From Back Cover:
"A Suspenseful Mind-Teaser.
Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone infuse it with raw humanity."
-Peter Travers Rolling Stone
Soon after arriving to teach at a small town college, Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) gets involved with two women: Rita Richards (Parker Posey), a lonely professor who wants him to rescue her from her unhappy marriage; and Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), his best student, who becomes his closest friend. While Jill loves her boyfriend Roy (Jamie Blackley), she finds Abe's tortured, artistic personality and exotic past irresistible. Pure chance changes everything when Abe and Jill overhear a stranger's conversation, and when Abe makes a profound choice, he is able to embrace life to the fullest again. But his decision sets off a chain of events that will affect him, Jill and Rita forever.
This is the third Allen film I've seen (or at least the third one I've seen all the way through) and I can't say I'm a fan of his work. I am, however, a fan of this tale of a depressed, alcoholic philosophy professor named Abe Lucas (played by Joaquin Phoenix) who finds his will to live in an unexpected way. And no, that will to live is not found in his affair with his lovestruck student, played by Emma Stone. He finds it in his plan and execution of the perfect crime, reveling in the thrill and danger of it all. I normally find narration and voiceovers irritating, but in this film it works perfectly as the audience watches Lucas's world spiral out of control while his mind races with absurdly excited thoughts. And the deeper in he gets the more comical it becomes. It's been asked of me if I think I would have enjoyed this movie as much had the lead been played by someone else and that's a question I can't answer. In all likelihood, I'd never have watched it had it starred another actor. I can say though that I loved everything about Phoenix's character and performance. I really enjoyed Emma Stone as well.
Rated R (MPAA)