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You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

Official Selection - 2010 Cannes Film Festival

Woody Allen is back in England for the fourth time, and still concerned with the lives and eternal longings of characters in search of that elusive thing called love. A choice cast and, as usual, some snappy Allen patter and observations on amour– or the lack of it – will hit the bulls-eye with Allen fans. Allen sets this table with a group of people of various ages and desires who just can’t seem to get emotional satisfaction with their current partners. Problem is, the new love arenas they dabble in will only bring a new kind of heartbreak. The audience is certainly in on Allen’s wicked joke, even if the characters are not. Among the players is Alfie (Anthony Hopkins), a man 40 years married to Helena (Gemma Jones) but in the midst of a well-past-midlife crisis that causes him to hit the gym, move out and take up with a hooker/wannabe bimbo actress Charmaine (Lucy Punch). Meanwhile, a fortune teller/psychic named Crystal (Pauline Collins) tells Helena she will meet a ‘tall dark stranger’ but instead she encounters a widower and spiritualist bookseller (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) who’s still obsessed with his late spouse (‘the deceased wives are always our biggest competition,’ says Helena). Adding to the misery, Helena and Alfie’s daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) is totally frustrated with her deadbeat, failed-author-of-a-hubby, Roy (Josh Brolin), whom she supports even though he refuses to father a baby with her. She starts having feelings toward her art gallery boss, Greg (Antonio Banderas), who is also unhappily married, but difficult to read. Back at home, Roy gazes out the window to the apartment across the way where he ogles gorgeous Dia (Freida Pinto) in various states of undress and decides to find a way to meet her. The complicated connections between this fairly pathetic group are deftly handled by Allen who weaves in and out of their feeble gameplans for love. Although he’s not breaking any new ground here, Allen is such a skilled writer/director that he knows just how to piece this wryly amusing emotional puzzle together in delightful ways. Gemma Jones is superb and poignant as an aging woman hanging on to every ridiculous, happy prediction she gets from Crystal. Brolin’s quite funny and Watts, in the film’s toughest role, manages to bring all of Sally’s bitchy bitterness to an understandable human level. Banderas, Pinto and Ashton-Griffiths are in and out, but do it with droll style. – Pete Hammond, Box Office Magazine Official Trailer
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Directed by: 
Woody Allen
Running Time: 
USA and Spain
Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Freida Pinto, Naomi Watts, Lucy Punch, Gemma Jones, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Pauline Collins, Jim Piddock, Celia Imrie, Ewen Bremner, Anna Friel, Fenella Woolgar, Neil Jackson, Alex MacQueen

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