Hannah And Her Sisters (1986)

WOODY ALLEN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1986.  Orion Pictures, .  Screenplay by Woody Allen.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1986.  Golden Globe Awards 1986.  

Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey and Dianne Wiest in Hannah And Her Sisters. Wiest won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

The masterpiece in the  oeuvre is this fascinating examination of sibling relationships. Hannah ( in a standout performance) is a generous and caring wife (to ) and mother who makes herself available to everyone in her family no matter what their needs are. Lee () is in an empty relationship with a much older man () and trying to figure out what to do when Caine announces he’s madly in love with her. Youngest sister Holly () has frustrations and insecurities that stem from her inability to decide what to do with her life. These characters, plus the girls’ parents (, Farrow’s mother ), Hannah’s hypochondriac ex-husband (Allen), Holly’s best friend () and love interest (Sam Waterston) are all perfectly balanced by the master’s platinum-quality screenplay and terrific direction. The bittersweet relationships play out to a more than satisfying finale and the performances (particularly Oscar winning Wiest) all sparkle. At the heart of it, though, is Allen’s subtle and intuitive understanding of the push-and-pull dynamics that guide these three women and how they relate to each other. Along with Crimes and Misdemeanors, this is as good as our sly nebbish gets.

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