Hannah and Her Sisters 2.0 stars

Hannah and Her Sisters movie poster
  • Rated PG-13 | 1 hour, 46 minutes

Hannah and Her Sisters runs an hour and forty-six minutes, rather long for a Woody Allen film, in fact the first of his films whose running time has stretched all the way to three figures. One might hope going into it that this would be a reflection of the larger population of dramatis personae and/or the greater depth of the relationships between them. But A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, which also treated of multiple couples rather than the more customary single couple or half-couple or possibly triangle, needed only eighty-eight minutes. And even Manhattan, his previous record-holder in length, and the previous film of his which Hannah is apt to be seen as most like, used up just ninety-six. The prime area of innovation in this one, beyond it being generally more diffused in focus, is that while Woody Allen himself is in it, he is not the center of it. No one is. But as in Manhattan, Allen's character seems to be the only member of the group who is capable of, or is permitted to be capable of, a joke. (Could his current low sperm count be a result of past excessive masturbation? "You gonna start knocking my hobbies?" — that sort of thing.) And his intermittent presence, though it lightens and thins the texture of the piece, inevitably hogs the spotlight and overshadows the "straights" or "stiffs." Michael Caine, Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Wiest. 1986.

Duncan Shepherd

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