Another Woman (1988) Poster


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Returning to Bergmanesque Roots
canadude8 July 2004
It's worth noting that in 1978, ten years before he made "Another Woman," Woody Allen created another quiet film, a drama with prominent Bergmanesque influences. The film was called "Interiors," and it was a tribute, or an American take on Bergman's "Cries and Whispers." "Interiors" examined the relationships of three sisters and their husbands in the face of the divorce of their dominant mother and detached father. The film essentially detailed the fall of "interiors," or illusory worlds created by the dominant mother in the face of tragedy and loneliness.

"Another Woman," made ten years later, shares similar themes with "Interiors," but it is more akin to Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" than to "Cries and Whispers." It is a story of a university professor, played spectacularly by Gena Rowlands, in whom something stirs when she overhears a therapy session with a young 30-something woman who is discontent with her life. The professor, Marion, feels an emptiness rise inside her - an emptiness that had settled there years before, that she can consciously feel now. Little by little, like in "Interiors," the world she has constructed for herself, a cold, cerebral world, deconstructs.

Marion despairs, enters into conflicts with herself, and questions endlessly trying to reason her way out of her malaise. But the cure for her malaise is not rational resolution and she, realizing that her strongest characteristic (namely her rational intelligence) is not enough to untangle what worries her, finds herself entirely helpless in the face of an unraveling existence.

Her drama is very much like the drama of Professor Isak Borg from Bergman's film, a man on his way to receive a medal for his lifetime achievements. And, on the road, he also succumbs to the same malaise as Marion, the same questioning and the same painful re-evaluation. The horror shared by both Marion and Professor Borg, of course, is that despite their highly lauded accomplishments and their intellectual self-satisfaction, they feel void. There must, in other words, be something else to life than strictly intellectual work, however satisfying it may be.

In Bergman (both "Cries and Whispers" and "Wild Strawberries") and in Allen (both "Interiors" and "Another Woman") life falls under question. The entire existence is evaluated, its worth and meaning doubted. In "Interiors" and "Cries and Whispers," however, the meaninglessness pervades everything in the films - the dialogues, behaviors and even visuals. The sisters in "Interiors" shatter the mother's reality and find nothingness - they continue as they were, much like the two sisters in "Cries and Whispers" for whom the death of their young sister changed absolutely nothing, and only confirmed their beliefs about the world.

However, "Another Woman" is not as stark (though it is stark indeed at times). Marion grabs at the chance to re-evaluate the life she feels she painfully wasted and tries to start again. It's not a false choice, or a gimmick on Allen's part, but it's a true depiction of Marion's sincere desire to continue to struggle because her life does have value for her. She rediscovers a passion for the struggle and her motivation is the same curiosity that made her go through the questioning process in the first place.

"Another Woman" is a testament to the fact that Woody Allen was still at the top of his game in the late 1980s. It is a brilliant, honest and (surprisingly) warm film. It is not a remake or rip-off of Bergman's work, though it is highly influenced by him (which shouldn't seem so surprising to anyone, because Bergman himself was influenced by the most basic questions of existence). "Another Woman" is an existential film that is both uncompromising and not hopeless. It's one of my favorite Woody Allen films and it reveals to us not only a great American director, but one whose films are of worldly greatness.
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Katmiss6 July 2002
Woody Allen's "Another Woman" is, upon rediscovery, a film of great power and feeling. Sadly, not many people will be open to rediscovery after the initial viewing.

Gena Rowlands stars as Marion Post, a 50ish philosophy professor whose life is in order. She rents an apartment to work on her latest book. By accident, she discovers that through the heating duct, she can hear all conversations from the psychiatrist located in said building. At first, she covers the duct with cushions to block the sound, but she decides to listen in after hearing, by accident, the testimony of a young pregnant woman. This sets in motion a chain of events that changes Marion forever.

Woody has said that he originally conceived the idea as a comedy and indeed, it could be played that way (on a smaller scale in "Everyone Says I Love You"). But here, Allen resists the temptation to play it for laughs. In fact, there is not one single moment of comedy relief in his film. I think that is a wise decision. I was so absorbed by Marion's journey that comedy would have broken the mood of the film. This film is another venture into Bergmanesque cinema and "Another Woman" can compare with the very best Bergman.

Gena Rowlands hasn't had a role this good since the films of her late husband John Cassavetes. This in fact, shows another side of Rowlands; a more restrained, mannered character than the fiery, passionate characters in the Cassavetes films. It just shows the different types of roles Rowlands can play so well. She deserved an Oscar nomination for this.

In fact, the whole film is well cast by Allen. Gene Hackman is great in a mellow part as Marion's ex-lover. Blythe Danner makes a return to form as Marion's best friend. It is great to see Danner do what she does best, especially following the horrible "Brighton Beach Memoirs" in which she was underused. Ian Holm is superb as Marion's husband, who as Roger Ebert puts it "must have a wife so he can cheat on her". In his final film, John Houseman allows himself to appear weak and frail; quite a change from the pillar of strength in "The Paper Chase" and a good cap to a great career.

I mentioned at the beginning that not many people will be open to rediscovering "Another Woman". I think that is correct. Here are my reasons why. First, the film is deliberately paced, even with a short running time of 81 minutes. Most viewers' attention spans won't be able to tolerate the long takes Allen is famous for. Second, the film doesn't offer any instant gratification or closure. Allen's story is one of those stories that just can't have a typical happy Hollywood ending. Third, there is T&A, even though adultery plays a large part in the story. So if you're looking for a fast paced film with T$A and guns and action and a happy ending, you might as well move on.

"Another Woman" is one of those films in which rediscovery is necessary. Allen packs so much into 81 minutes that multiple viewings are necessary to absorb it all. If you make the effort to see it again, you might find that "Another Woman" is a film of great power and feeling that works better every time you see it.

**** out of 4 stars
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Another great Woody Allen drama
Greensleeves4 October 2003
This is a wonderful movie but not an easy one. It mixes the present with the past and dreams with real life. You will need to see it three or four times at least to get the best out of it but it's well worth doing. Every performance is spot on, every scene has a purpose, there is no padding here. It comes as a shock to Gena Rowlands character that she is not what she thought she was, that people do not view her in the way she thought they did.She takes a journey through her life to see what went wrong with the unwitting aid of a psychiatrist and patient in the apartment next door. The film ends abruptly without a proper resolution just as life can and does. The final line of Gena Rowlands beautiful narration will haunt you. A masterpiece of writing and direction to say nothing of superb acting and masterful cinematography.
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This film blew me away
andrew719 February 2002
I just watched this last night, and I've been thinking about it all day. What an amazing film! So poignant, so subtle. A woman re-evaluates her life and begins to lament the choices she made years ago. Such a simple premise, such immense possibilities.

This film demands a lot of its audience. There is no humor, no action, and very little plot. Most people won't be into this at all, I imagine, which is a shame. This film offers a really wonderful perspective on a subject that is so very rarely addressed in films today: aging. This film is about a woman taking stock of her life at the age of fifty. She looks back, she sees the choices she made and how they turned out. She sees the compromises she made to get where she is today (very successful, head of a philosophy department, about to write another book), and she begins to appreciate, for the first time, what those compromises cost.

This is, in my opinion, the central tragedy of human existence. You only get one shot at life, and no one ever tells you how to manage it. So, you make mistakes, and one day, when you're fifty, you've finally learned enough to start making the right choices. But, by that time, is it too late? This film doesn't answer that question, at least not for its central character. But it does offer hope.

The film is propelled by several dynamite performances. But, even in such a crowded field of great performances, it is not difficult to pick out Gena Rowlands, who gives an unforgettably nuanced performance as Marion, the film's central character.

You may notice that this film is propelled by a number of coincidences. Every chance encounter, however, has an eerie relevance to Marion's soul-searching. It may look contrived, but it isn't. These aren't coincidences at all. The pregnant woman, played by Mia Farrow, is instrumental in setting up each of these 'coincidences', and that character's name is Hope. I was half-expecting a "Fight Club" revelation at the end, but it never came, which is good. This film could stand both ways, and it's better for the director to leave the audience to consider the relationship between Hope and Marion on their own. Like I said, I've been thinking about it all day.
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Another Woody
Mort-318 February 2001
The melancholic mood and Gena Rowland's impressing acting are the most important elements of this movie. It's the Ingmar-Bergman type of film, like „Interiors`, much more serious and thoughtful than all of Woody Allen's other movies, not at all typical for him. In my opinion, it's even more vivid than „Interiors` because there are less people involved and – something that happens less and less in Woody Allen's movies – there is only one main character. This time, it's the character herself who tells the story which is really unusual for Allen.

By leaving every other trade mark in plot and topics away, Allen concentrates on the intellectual dialogues and the analyses people make about each other. It's characteristic that Marion Post is a professor for philosophy. She automatically analyzes everybody around her, which leads to the fact that they start analyzing her. Her crisis begins, when she learns that people talk about her – which, of course, is something completely natural – and therefore starts analyzing herself. Her character really impressed me because I know people myself who are exactly like Marion Post. Woody Allen is a brilliant psychologist who watches people precisely and that's why he is able to create such believable characters.
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Woody's delicate drama
drosse6720 October 2002
This is by far my favorite Woody Allen straight drama (most of his other "serious" films, like Crimes and Misdemeanors and Husbands & Wives, have comedic moments). His third "heavy film" (after Interiors and September) is chamber drama, beautifully acted and directed. Most of the elements found in Allen's other post "Annie Hall" films are here (the upper crust Manhattan intellectuals, dysfunctional relationships), but what's missing are the laughs. The film is very serious stuff, involving repressed emotions and alienation. There is simply no place for Woody's usually nervous character in Another Woman. You can still tell that this is one of his films because of the characterizations. Gena Rowlands is in nearly every scene and is classy, as usual, and the rest of the ensemble cast is just as good. My favorites were Gene Hackman and Ian Holm. The title is fairly clever as well; it doesn't refer to what you might think.
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excellent performances and script.
sthomas65930 December 2003
This is a character study film. There are many "layers" to the story. Allen comments via the character in a subtle way. The film uses surreal and the subconscious to lead the characters to their destination. I like the fact that the ending left the viewer with his or her own ideas about the outcome of the characters. Nothing in this film is "forced on the viewer." Gena Rowlands narrates and is very easy to listen to. This is definitly not a film for the person who would rather watch than think. Rowlands puts in a very fine performance, in my opinion, she is one of the under-rated actress' of her time. The film runs less than 90 minutes. I didn't know what to expect when the film started but was surprised and pleased with this film!
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One of Woody's most mature and underrated dramas
zetes5 December 2001
There was a certain period in Woody Allen's career when he was trying desperately to imitate Ingmar Bergman's work. It rarely worked, and often turned out disasters like the execrable September. Another Woman is a riff on Bergman's Wild Strawberries: a college professor, played by Gena Rowlands, is past fifty and looking back on and reliving key events in her life as her present life is falling apart. The film is quite stagy at times, just as it was in September, Allen's previous film. He seems to think that adds something, but it really doesn't. One other problem Another Woman has is a couple of very clunky scenes, and a few poor bit performers, which were much bigger problems in September, which was actually the last Allen film that I saw and the one that made me subconsciously avoid him for the past several months. Allen's script here is excellent. He has produced an excellent character study which is probably unsurpassed in all of his other films that I've seen. The lead actors are wonderful here, Rowlands, Ian Holms, Blythe Danner, Sandy Dennis, and Gene Hackman. Allen's use of piano music is beautifully touching. It all adds up to a very touching and sad little film. It might not be Woody's best film, but it ought to be better respected and known. 8/10.
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My brief review of the film
sol-12 May 2005
Bergmanesque territory for Allen again, this is an intriguing and well directed film in Bergman's style, however unlike in some of Allen's earlier Bergman ventures this one feels like less of a copy and more so just a unique drama. The film is philosophical without the ideas seeming intangible, and some of the points are very interesting, like how the pain of others can cause one to realise one's own, and how fascinating it is to hear someone else's revelations. It is not a minute too long, and the dialogue is great, but if one was to flaw it, Allen's choice of music seems a little off-balance, the narration is a touch cold, and whilst not bad, the performances are generally rather ordinary. But all these problems are very slight, as the overall production is fascinating and thought-provoking stuff about how one reflects on oneself.
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Makes Us Reflect On The Choices We Make In Life
FilmScores20 November 2001
This is not like any other Woody Allen movie I've seen before. He writes and directs this film which hits many levels of the human heart. The acting is well performed and the subject matter makes you reflect upon your own life and the choices you've made along the way. This one is to be added to your collection.
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"I wondered if a memory is something you have or something you've lost."
Galina_movie_fan22 June 2006
In Woody Allen's "Another Woman", Marion (Gena Rowlands) is the head of a university department of philosophy and also a member of several important committees. She is an expert in Art, music, and an amateur painter. She is in a comfortable and successful marriage to a physician (Ian Holmes), and has a close and friendly relationship with her husband's teenage daughter from an earlier marriage (Martha Plimpton). Marion is writing a book and decides to rents an office in a downtown building. When in the office, she inadvertently overhears a woman (Mia Farrow) in a session with her psychoanalyst and begins to look back at her own life, identity, relationships, and purpose.

I watched "Another Woman" for the first time last night and I am totally engrossed by it. I love everything about it. Actually, it is the first Allen's strict drama that I love so much. It will go very high on my Woody's favorites list. The film is so Woodyesque even if it doesn't have any laughs - it is still his style, his Manhattan, his favorite music, his long takes, his intellect, his sincere, intelligent, and emotional contemplations of life's disappointment, regrets, and losses. I think it is one of Allen's most profound and warmest films. Yes, warmest, because Marion looks at the first 50 years of her life in a true and painful light, but she also would learn that there is hope, that anything can be changed and life could be started over even at 50. She will reevaluate her life and her relationships with her husband, father, brother, step-daughter, and friends. She may not find the answers for all the questions but she certainly learns a lot about herself. I've seen John Cassavetes' "A Woman Under the Influence" (1974) and I know how great the actress Gena Rowlands is but I was amazed by her performance in "Another Woman". Allen gave her wonderful material to work with and she was superb - strong, reserved, brilliant woman, incredibly attractive at her 50. It is a dream role for an intelligent middle-aged actress but sadly, Hollywood does not provide them very often.

A lot has been said about Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" (I'd add "Cries and Whispers" and "Face to Face") influence to "Another Woman" but it is not a remake. We all at some point of our lives "lose the way we traveled by and enter a dark forest." The artists by the power of their talents capture the moments of search for meaning and put them on the canvas, on the paper or on screen. Even if they meditate on the same theme, each artist uses his unique tools, and brings his unique vision and talent.

In "Another Woman" Allen created an excellent character study which is on par with his best and more famous films. Wonderful Rowlands is surrounded by the first class supporting players including Ian Holms, Blythe Danner, Sandy Dennis, and Gene Hackman. Allen's use of music is touching and delicate as in all his movies. "Another Woman" is one of the best unfairly forgotten films and it deserves to be rediscovered, respected, and admired. It is certainly, the best of Allen's pure drama films.
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Rowlands is a revelation, and the film matches her.
Rockwell_Cronenberg30 January 2012
Devastating, unlike anything I've seen from Woody Allen so far. This was a very quiet, deliberately paced exploration into a woman facing a mid-life crisis, played with extraordinary skill by Gena Rowlands. It leaned maybe a little too much on narration when it could have utilized her talent as an actress instead, but that's a small complaint when the final result is so powerful.

Rowlands' Marion Post rents an apartment in order to work on her novel and, through hearing the patients of the psychiatrist's office next door, slowly begins to examine her life and the choices that she has made. We see her interact with those surrounding her, be it her husband, her daughter, her brother, but she always feels a level removed from all of them. Over the years she has isolated herself from everyone around her and examines them rather than interacts, and Rowlands plays this with a knowledge so fitting and serene.

There's an extended dream sequence a little over halfway through the picture that is one of the most surreal, emotional and illuminating experiences I've had in a Woody Allen picture and one of my favorite moments in the twenty or so films of his I've seen. It imagines her life as a stage play that she watches take place, and it opens the world back up to Marion, which is displayed in master strokes on the all-telling face of Rowlands. She gives a performance for the ages here, working mostly from the inside out, although there are a few devastating scenes of her letting herself fall apart.

I was surprised at how little Mia Farrow was in it, given that she's on the cover for it and the plot synopsis makes her part seem a lot more major, but she manages to leave an impression, although the most surprising of the supporting cast was Gene Hackman. I'm used to seeing him (and loving him) in varying crime pictures, so it was nice to see him take on a more grounded and every day character, which despite only appearing for a brief time he manages to leave a lasting impression with his emotionally conflicted portrayal. You can really feel this character that he displays, feel his love and heartache in every breath.

Still, the film absolutely belongs to Rowlands, who resonated so deeply inside of me and will surely stick there for a while. She knocks it out of the park in a film that is so unique, cerebral and magnificent from Woody Allen.
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Woody Allen's overlooked masterpiece
Knuckle7 April 2006
Another Woman is bar none one of the best movie Woody Allen has ever made. In this movie, Marion Post (Gena Rowlands) starts to reexamine her life when she overhears Hope (Mia Farrow) speaking with her analyst.

Of course, a one sentence synopsis cannot even begin to do justice to this masterpiece's depth. The characters are incredibly engaging and the dialog is a pure joy to behold when delivered by one of cinema's finest assembled casts.

Gena Rowlands, of course, delivers her role wonderfully, but Gene Hackman's performance is nothing short of stellar. The brief moments he is allowed on screen are gems to be treasured and represent some of his finest work to date.

Only Hannah and Her Sisters comes close to matching the perfection of this movie, with all of its emotional and intellectual complexity.

Ten out of ten. Memorable, beautiful, and wonderful.
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Stunning. Perceptive, insightful and objective!
198110 August 1999
I was absolutely astounded when I saw this movie, it is simply brilliant. One of the best movies I have ever seen. This movie is never caught up in sentimentality and is never brought down by the value system or personal wistfulness of its writer and director. The movie is straightforward, not disguising any element, not using any device to imply that one particular viewpoint has greater validity than another. It simply is an objective and unbiased look into a woman's life.

The music in this movie is very beautiful. Woody Allen is a master of introducing music to influence mood and he is very subtle about it. Unlike the often abrupt and rather abrasive incorporation of music by directors aiming to forcefully manipulate one's point of view and emotional response, Allen knows that this will happen through subtle presentation. Again, what is so brilliant in this movie is its subtlety. To me, that is what makes everything so real. You are presented with someone's life through a window, you hear their thoughts and observe their actions. You find that the events of their life follow a progression without implications, without obvious foreshadowing. You are left with your own insightfulness and the struggle of the character to find her way out of the darkness she is in.

The acting is stunning. Gene Hackman and Ian Holm give incredible supporting performances and Gena Rowlands is remarkable. She does not come across forced or attempting to be something she is not. It is as if she were playing herself, she is very believable.

I think this movie is a masterpiece. I recommend paying very close attention to the ending, it is haunting.
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But seriously, folks...
majikstl23 October 2004
If there is a moral to Woody Allen's ANOTHER WOMAN, it is that we should live our lives with passion, spontaneity and optimism. Ironically, these are the very elements that are noticeable missing from the film. ANOTHER WOMAN seems to be selling products it doesn't have in stock, let alone on display.

ANOTHER WOMAN is an immaculate movie; sensitively acted, concisely written and lovingly filmed. But like so many of Allen's "serious" films, it is cold and strangely impersonal. It is Woody standing back and looking at someone else's life, composing a precise picture, but with a hands-off, leave-no-fingerprints approach. It is one of those films that is so easy to admire, but very difficult to embrace. It desperately wants to touch you, but refuses to come within touching distance. The film's central character is described thus: "She's just a little judgmental. You know, she sorta stands above people and evaluates them." That is how Allen approaches his characters here, like they're specimens.

There is, of course, two Woody Allens: the comedy genius and the always aspiring dramatist. Most of his comedies are pretty good, but the best are those that let the serious Woody sneak into the film and give the material backbone, as in ANNIE HALL, MANHATTAN, STARDUST MEMORIES and DECONSTRUCTING HARRY. He allows the serious Woody to make cameo appearances in his comedies, but when he sets his sites on meaningful drama, the funny Woody is barred from the set. It is as though Allen is afraid that so much as a smile will break the mood and make people forget just how serious his intentions are. He so easily mocks intellectual thought in his comedies, that he seems to have no faith in his ability to "be serious" and mean it. As such his serious comedies are alive and filled with insight, while his serious dramas are filled with pretense. How seriously can one take a line like "I shouldn't have seduced you. Intellectually, that is."? I mean, who the heck talks like that? In his comedies, such dialogue shows how pretentious the characters are; in his dramas, it seems meant to show just how sincere the characters are.

And words are an important element of ANOTHER WOMAN. Allen's dialogue and narration is eloquent and sophisticated, but stiff and formal. Even when discussing their deepest feelings or expressing anger or reliving joyous moments in their lives, all the characters speak as though they are discussing the terms of their life insurance policies. There is a solemn emptiness to the tone of the film; even at the end, when Marion tries to make amends for past failings, she seems to be negotiating a contract, not saying "Let's start again." Such pompous droning seems designed to reflect the tone of the characters' lives; but the end result is monotonous and deadening, rather than being poetic and compelling.

The film does have a clever conceit: the always marvelous Gena Rowlands plays Marion Post, a professor of philosophy, who sublets an apartment to serve as an office where she can write her latest book. A quirk in the ventilation system allows her to inadvertently eavesdrop on the conversations going on next door. The next apartment is the office of a psychiatrist, who counts among his patients a young pregnant woman, played by Mia Farrow. The young woman discusses at length her sorrowful life and suicidal impulses. Because she identifies with the younger woman's feelings of loneliness and alienation, Marion becomes obsessed with eavesdropping on the sessions and uses the situation as a springboard for reevaluating her own life.

It is significant that just as Allen tells the story from a sterile distance, Marion reviews her life only indirectly, though voice-overs, flashbacks, dreams and even symbolic stage productions. Even her psychoanalysis is conducted through a surrogate, Farrow's character, who is rather obviously named Hope. Much of the interaction with other characters occurs in Marion's mind. And rather predictably, Marion's journey of self discovery is, well, rather predictable. She discovers -- as protagonists in this sort of film always discover -- that her successful career and her well-ordered life are a facade hiding her empty relationships and assorted personal failures. Her life of satisfied accomplishment is meaningless and the trust, love and respect she believes she shares with others are delusions. It's like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE in reverse: Just as the angel Clarence acts as George Bailey's conscience to show him how valuable his life has been, Hope acts as Marion's conscience to reveal how empty her life as become.

ANOTHER WOMAN has a counterpart in Allen's 2003 film, ANYTHING ELSE; another film with an obvious doppelganger. The former is about a woman who encounters her younger alter ego and reevaluates her past choices, while the latter is about a young man whose encounters with his older alter ego (played by Woody Allen) effects the choices that will shape his future. The same basic story is approached from opposite directions.

It's dangerous to speculate, but it seems that Allen made ANOTHER WOMAN during a time in his life when he was hugely admired for his accomplishments and he was deeply involved in a relationship with Mia Farrow and her extended family. Certainly Farrow's playing a pregnant woman and Marion's second thoughts over placing career over personal relationships seem to suggest a parallel. By contrast, ANYTHING ELSE, made a decade and a half later, finds Allen's character playing a mentor at a time when he is apparently happily married to a much younger woman, and where his status as a filmmaker is more iconic than in vogue. As such, his surrogate changes from being the central figure to the sadder but wiser voice of experience.

Both films are steeped in regret, but make an effort to end in an upbeat fashion. But while ANOTHER WOMAN is an accomplished, polished work striving for a cool perfection, it is not persuasive in its attempt to inspire us with optimism. ANYTHING ELSE is rambling and unfocused and, well, sloppy, but its optimism is honest and funny. ANOTHER WOMAN is about getting another chance, but there is no reason to believe that anything will really change in Marion's tight, introspective little life.
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Morally complex, quietly devastating... yet hopeful; an underrated Allen masterpiece
Benedict_Cumberbatch30 June 2009
As I'm warming up to watch "Whatever Works", Woody's new film, this weekend, I've just watched two underrated films from my favourite director: "September" (1987) and "Another Woman" (1988), for the first time. I've seen most of his films, but there's about a dozen I haven't been fortunate enough to see yet. I think even his minor films are good at least, but "Another Woman" is on the same level of his greatest achievements: "The Purple Rose of Cairo" (my personal favourite, and somewhat underrated itself), "Annie Hall", "Manhattan", "Husbands and Wives" and "Hannah and Her Sisters", among others.

"Another Woman" is only 81 minutes long, but its power lingers. This morally complex, quietly devastating tale about a woman in her fifties (Gena Rowlands, extraordinary as always) who overhears the conversations between her next door neighbour, a psychiatrist, and his patient, 'Hope' (Mia Farrow, in a role similar to the one she played in "September" - continuation of the same character, maybe?), a younger pregnant woman. As she gets drawn to the plights of Hope, she discovers dark truths about herself - her feeling to help Hope discloses her own insecurities and flaws, and this new perception of herself changes the way she can relate to other people around her. The supporting cast - Ian Holm, Gene Hackman, Martha Plimpton, Sandy Dennis, Philip Bosco, Blythe Danner, Betty Buckley and a cameo by Frances Conroy, 13 years before "Six Feet Under", as Rowlands' sister - is also top notch. Erik Satie's "Gymnopedies for Piano No. 3" is the moving, haunting musical theme.

Basically, "Another Woman" is to Allen's career what "Persona" (1966) is to Ingmar Bergman's (not by chance, the cinematographer is Sven Nykvist, Bergman's usual collaborator), and "3 Women" (1977) to Robert Altman's. "Another Woman" is not as much about identity theft in a literal sense as it is about human connections, revelations and false perceptions; but the female psyche is clearly at the core of the story. Those who say Allen is only obsessed with the neurotic, Jewish New Yorker male, don't really know his work. Although it's true some of his themes can get almost repetitive, he's still the man, and it's great how a long time fan like me can still be constantly amazed by his work, both old and new. When someone is 73 and still makes an average of one film a year, you can't expect for much. However, Woody always delivers something to be enjoyed or profoundly admired, and I hope he makes at least 10 more films before he dies.

I know you don't believe in God, Woody, but I do; and I thank him for giving us a genius like you. You once said that if your movies make at least one person more miserable, you feel you accomplished your job. I don't believe you actually mean that; because I'm sure you know that your films make lots of people, myself included, very happy. Thanks for existing! 10/10.
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Brief Woody Allen treatise about choices, chances, regret and hope...
moonspinner557 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Sedate and as fleeting as a paperback novel (despite its penchant for high-toned literacy), Woody Allen's "Another Woman" is a seemingly deeply-felt sonata about a 50-ish female writer in New York City who comes to the realization her current state of upscale well-being is a sham. Allen excels in sequences of chatty couples interacting, with the dynamics of two sparking something unintended; he also loves delving into the romantic complications between teacher and student, usually with infidelity a key ingredient, and all of those aspects work their way into this story, which has a moral, grounded center despite the cheating adults (even a younger teen gets a guilty moment, having sex in a forbidden place, but of course she feels cheap afterward!). Allen loves a contradiction as well as any writer, but his main character (played stunningly by Gena Rowlands, who also narrates) is living in the subconscious, and is forced into continually being enlightened. This is handled quite well (with dreamy interludes and flashbacks to childhood), but this narrative actually should be more compelling; instead, it's gossamer drama, with Bergman or Chekov overtures. A last-act fling between Rowlands' husband and a friend is disappointing, with Woody falling back on the cliché (couldn't Rowlands leave her sexless marriage on the basis of boredom alone?). As a director, Woody is very careful and strict with his actors, and Gene Hackman as a novelist surprises the most (his harsh attempt at seducing Rowlands is straightforward and yet almost neurotic--and you can see the anguish and passion on his face); Martha Plimpton continues to be far too eager, but Rowlands, Ian Holm, Betty Buckley, Frances Conroy, and Sandy Dennis have some incredible moments. As the "other woman", whose life parallels Gena's, Mia Farrow has very little on-screen time but her plaintive voice and sensitive face are just right for this brief role. A fine drama about choices and regrets; I'm not sure just how deeply a man like Woody Allen can empathize with a lady in her 50s trying to stay afloat in a loveless life, but there are several scenes here that really dig below the placid surface. *** from ****
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One of Woody's finest dramas
Movie_Man 5001 September 2005
The great Gena Rowlands has a fine narrative voice and in fact, it is her voice that you'll remember long after this is over. Voices in fact come into play a lot in this picture, from the sad stark voice of Mia Farrow whom Rowlands accidentally overhears in therapy, to the soft voice of John Houseman recalling his life, to the harsh voices of Sandy Dennis and Betty Buckley, in both real and flashback time. Allen shows some nice touches here as he uses visual and theatrical tricks to flesh out key parts of Marian's past. Nothing is wasted film wise as the editing is smooth and keeps everything finely constructed like a novel. Regrets and mistakes soon haunt everyone in the story and Marian comes to identify with a stranger (in Farrow) as she realizes most of the people in her small world never really knew who she was. Not as emotionally heavy as Allen's 2 dramas, this one allows you to admire the careful writing and the sometimes selfish motives of the characters, who don't always resonate with likability. Gene Hackman and Martha Plimpton offer pleasant support, perhaps the only 2 connections to solid love Marian has experienced... Worth repeated viewings, as all of Woody's movies are...
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great character study
SnoopyStyle24 September 2016
Marion Post (Gena Rowlands) is a New Yorker in her 50s facing a midlife crisis. She's on sabbatical as the director of undergraduate studies in Philosophy at a women's college. She's renting an apartment to write her book in quiet when she notices that she can hear the psychiatrist office next door. She overhears a patient (Mia Farrow)'s desperate sessions whose words bring up issues in her own life. Marion is married to second husband Ken (Ian Holm) who has daughter Laura (Martha Plimpton) with bitter ex-wife Kathy. They had an affair while Kathy was sick. She starts to take stock of her regrets like a romance with Ken's friend Larry (Gene Hackman). Her brother Paul (Harris Yulin) and his wife Lynn (Frances Conroy) are getting divorced. Her father (John Houseman) is frustrated with Paul. In flashback, her father forced him to work at the paper box factory to help Marion go to a prestigious college. She runs into former friend Claire (Sandy Dennis) and her husband when an old issue resurfaces. She starts to wonder about her various calculated choices over the years.

This is a movie about a cerebral woman. It relies on the integrity of Gena Rowlands' performance. She is a cold character but not in a cartoon way. Her regrets feel visceral like ones which are collected over a lifetime. She is a woman of thoughts realizing that her seeming perfect life hides wreckage of past mistakes that have been ignored for far too long.
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This is a film of introspection and marvelous performances. A central theme of the film is that people can transform their lives to become more fulfilled.
bell-benn18 January 2016
"I realize you have been hurt. If I've done anything wrong, I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I accept your condemnation." "You are a member of Amnesty International and the ACLU. And the head of the philosophy department. Impossible!" These are two of my favorite quotes from the Woody Allen film, Another Woman. I like them each equally well but for different reasons. The first is such an outrageous statement by a phony pomposity of an ego so far gone as to defy augury and the other hits a little too close to home with the exception of being the head of the philosophy department. Woody Allen strikes gold here with his study of intellectual angst and mid life crisis. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to declare this film to be a mini-masterpiece.

I ran across this neglected, forgotten and, probably one you never heard of mini-masterpiece while scrolling through HULU one night looking for something decent to watch. Oh, a film by Woody Allen! Let me check it out. Probably seen it before but what the heck? So I cued it up and started watching. Curiously enough I didn't remember anything about it and was soon captivated and mesmerized by the haunting voice-over by one of it's stars and the brilliant cinematography of one of the worlds foremost cinematographers.

Another Woman was released in late 1988 and runs for 81 minutes. It was written and directed by Woody Allen. It stars Gena Rowlands as Marion Post, a middle aged philosophy teacher who is on sabbatical to write a book. It is her voice-over we hear as the movie begins. She is describing her life as accomplished and reasonably well settled.

She rents an apartment downtown to work on her book without distraction and discovers that she is able to overhear the conversation between a patient (Mia Farrow) and her psychiatrist through the heating vents coming from the adjoining apartment. At first Marion blocks off the sound with pillows but later she starts to listen in. The patient is despondent, pregnant, and thinking of ending her life. Her name ironically is Hope.

This conversation gets Marion to thinking about her own life and through series of coincidences, ruminations and, flashbacks, she encounters people from previous times in her life and she discovers she is not as happy as she thought she was.

This is a film of introspection and marvelous performances. A central theme of the film is that people can transform their lives to become more fulfilled. To say the film was Bergmanesque is rather stating the obvious. It has long been known that Woody has been greatly influenced by the Swedish master, Ingmar Bergman. Some say that this film resembles Wild Strawberries but I think it is more Persona like, which was also photographed by Sven Nykvist, Bergman's favored cinematographer.

This is a wonderful film which I highly recommend.
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Gena Rowlands at Her Best in Woody Allen Classic
JLRMovieReviews12 October 2015
Gena Rowlands lives in her own world, really. She is married but is self-sufficient and, as she will soon find out, her world is coming apart. She is a very intelligent and well-educated woman but is one of those people who can't see past the end of their nose. In writing her latest book, she rents office space for quiet but is distracted by a voice confessing to a psychiatrist. She is enamored by the vulnerable and lost voice (Mia Farrow) and in the process learns about herself. In dealing with family members, her eyes are slowly beginning to open to see her own flaws and how to forgive herself and others. Gena Rowlands gives a spectacular performance in this introspective, insightful and intuitive Woody Allen film. It's beyond me why Gena was never recognized by Oscar for this film, or how this film never has gotten as much recognition as other Woody Allen films, like Hannah and Her Sisters and Annie Hall and even Interiors. This is a film not just for women but for all who demand intelligence and something challenging and worthwhile in the movies they see. No one can really write films like Woody Allen, where less is more. This short film will leave you thinking about your own life and how you get along with others. A tour de force for Gena Rowlands and Woody Allen!
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World of Gray, or "Woody Does Ingmar"
blanche-225 April 2012
Gena Rowlands gives a marvelous performance as a woman coming face to face with her reality in "Another Woman," a 1988 Woody Allen film also starring Mia Farrow, Ian Holm, Blythe Danner, John Housman,Sandy Dennis, Gene Hackman, Betty Buckley, Martha Plimpton, Gretchen Conroy, and Harris Yulin.

Rowlands narrates as well as stars as Marion Post, a brilliant woman and expert in German literature who is on sabbatical from teaching to write a book. In order to accomplish this, she rents an apartment which happens to be right next to a therapist's office. The walls are then and her apartment and the therapist's office share a vent. Marion, in spite of herself, becomes very interested in the sessions of a young pregnant woman (Farrow) and starts to analyze herself. This leads to some shocking and painful realizations.

With a cast like this, it's hard to miss, and Allen doesn't. This is a character study, and while the film moves slowly, it manages to keep one's attention.

Allen does a beautiful job with this - Marion lives in a world where she hasn't allowed herself much real passion and feeling; therefore, he always has her dressed in gray.

"Another Woman" here actually has several meanings - Marion herself was another woman when she and her husband (Ian Holm) first met, as he was married; the Farrow character represents another woman; and Marion realizes that there is "another woman" inside her who hasn't quite emerged. There's one more "another woman," but that's all I'll say.

Reminiscent of Bergman, Allen here has done an American take on him, so it just feels a little lighter than, say, "Autumn Sonata" (what doesn't?).

Very special film about choices, regrets, aging, and hope.
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An intensely felt drama.
bobsgrock12 August 2010
Very much in the same vein as 1978's Interiors, Woody Allen returns to serious dramatic fashion with Another Woman, which like Interiors explores the inner workings and details that make up a family. In particular, this one focuses through the parameters of Marion, brilliantly played by Gena Rowlands as an icy cold woman who has managed for years to shield her true feelings and emotions from practically everyone close to her.

Unfortunately, this begins to fall back into her lap as she talks with her step-daughter, husband and old friends and family who tell her that she is nearly impossible to communicate with and not very feeling. This comes as a shock to Marion and us; we don't notice it and how did this happen? Woody Allen is certainly one of the great comedic writer/director/actors of the last 50 years, but his serious dramatic turns are just as impressive. With the help of Ingmar Bergman's legendary cinematographer Sven Nykvist, Allen creates a mesmerizing canvas of dark, surreal colors and palates that give off a moody and depressing tone felt by all the characters, especially Marion. This is certainly a film only for true Woody Allen fans as it doesn't have any of his usual zany or self-depraved humor. Yet, what it does have is terrific performances by Rowland, Ian Holm, Mia Farrow and Gene Hackman as well as a solid script and direction by Allen. A must-see for any of his fans.
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viny-areas29 March 2008
The closest thing to perfection, along with "Zelig", "The Purple Rose of Cairo" and "Match Point", Woody Allen ever got. I found this movie by accident, I had just seen "Interiors" and was amazed... But when I saw this one i just went crazy. Is everything Woody Allens observed e digest from Bergman at it's best. Gena Rowlands performance of this lonely and intelligent woman is superb and captivating. The rest of cast is also very engaging as well... It also has one of the greats opening in a film i 've had ever seen.Sven Nykvist photograph gives a poetic and melancholic touch to the movie along with the wonderful soundtrack. Art with a big "A"!
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The Perfect Gift For Anyone Turning 40, or 38, or 42, or 33...
wobelix23 October 2006
Being the astounding director Woody Allen is, equaled only by Maverick Robert Altman where ensembles are being cast, it is not surprising there is no weak link in the cast of this thought provoking film.

There is no comic relief either, which labels this film immediately as one of Allen's 'Bergmanesque' movies.

It seems that every age has something in store for us.

When we are ready to turn 20, we have CATCHER IN THE RYE.

When we are ready to drown ourselves in alcoholism, we have the milestone that is as sombre as it is eloquent and inescapable: UNDER THE VOLCANO (The book that is, not the flat film which is but a fleeting whiff of perfume next to the book).

And when we are ready to turn 40 ... we seem to know it all. Smooth sailing from now on, right ?

For most of us this superb film might very well be of the same influence as 'The Catcher...' had some decades back in our life. ANOTHER WOMAN, so short in time yet so full and rich and full of foreboding, should not be missed by anyone over, let's say ... 40 ? Or ... 36, maybe ? Or ... ??

Well, please DO NOT MISS this highly important and fantastic film !!!

Or you'll regret it later in life ! Which of course is the theme of this sublime moving picture.
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