Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 1987. Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions, Orion Pictures. Screenplay by Woody Allen. Cinematography by Carlo Di Palma. Produced by Robert Greenhut. Production Design by Santo Loquasto. Costume Design by Jeffrey Kurland. Film Editing by Susan E. Morse. Academy Awards 1987.
Woody Allen’s beautiful bit of semi-autobiographical nostalgia follows the life of a Jewish family in 1930s New York whose life revolves, one way or the other, around their experiences listening to the radio. Seth Green is a boyhood Allen whose passion for the adventure serials on the airwaves gets him into all kinds of trouble. His parents, Michael Tucker and Julie Kavner, tune in for the grown-up programs while dealing with the problems that face their everyday lives, while his single aunt (Dianne Wiest, the film’s best performance) looks to the box as to the rest of the world for the perfect romance. On the other side of the airwaves are a number of stories about success in the radio business, including Mia Farrow as a girl who goes from selling cigarettes to hosting celebrity shows thanks to a very good vocal coach. Romantically photographed and featuring stunning art direction and costumes, this wonderful film is one of Allen’s most lyrical, sweet and purely enjoyable films, featuring an excellent screenplay and performances of uniformly high quality.