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Melinda and Melinda

Romance . Drama . Comedy

While dining out with friends, Sy suggests the difficulty of separating comedy from tragedy. To illustrate his point, he tells his guests two parallel stories about Melinda ; both versions have the same basic elements, but one take on her state of affairs leans toward levity, while the other is full of anguish. Each story involves Melinda coping with a recent divorce through substance abuse while beginning a romantic relationship with a close friend's husband.

Actors: Stephanie Roth Haberle , Neil Pepe , Josh Brolin , Arija Bareikis , David Aaron Baker , Larry Pine , Wallace Shawn , Chloë Sevigny , Amanda Peet , Radha Mitchell , Jonny Lee Miller , Will Ferrell , Chiwetel Ejiofor
Directors: Woody Allen
Country: USA
Release: 2005-04-08
More Info:
  • Mike Clark

    Smart, satisfying and compact but so modest in scale that only true-blue fans will sense - immediately - that it's Woody Allen's best outing in many years.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    In its complexity and wit, this is one of his (Allen's) best recent films.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Michael Wilmington

    Allen gives us at least half a classic comedy - more than we usually get at the movies these days - while having some elegant fun with an idea that has intrigued poets and smart alecks through the ages: the interchangeability of comedy and tragedy.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Sheri Linden

    Woody's back on solid ground with his first memorable pic of the new millennium.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Deborah Young

    Radha Mitchell stirs memories of complex Allen heroines from Annie Hall on down, even if the action is dispersed via a larger ensemble cast which he currently favors.

    Variety Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Full of entertaining vignettes that eventually make a happy mockery, as they're meant to do, of the tragedy vs. comedy dialectic.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Emma Cochrane

    It has great performances, snappy one-liners and a likeably tricksy structure, all wrapped up in an affirmative antidote to life’s daunting complexities. Welcome back, Woody.

    Empire Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    With Melinda and Melinda he's (Allen) not just going through the motions. He's saying the game isn't over before you laugh till it hurts.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    This is closer to an Allen comeback than anything else he's made recently. Maybe he'll achieve it with his next movie, "Match Point," due this year.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    Though Melinda is no masterpiece, it’s also an Allen film that requires almost zero special pleading.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    More accomplished, adventurous and original. Instead of Allen's usual investigation into the nature of existence, this new film looks at the way stories are created, particularly comedies.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • David Denby

    It's emotionally more alive than anything Allen has done since "Sweet and Lowdown," in 1999. I was absorbed in it, and I liked parts of it. And I wish to God it were better.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    As he (Allen) interweaves two versions of the Melinda story, one meant to be bathed in pathos, the other sprinkled with whimsy, it becomes apparent that his notions of comedy and tragedy do not quite correspond either to scholarly dogma or to everyday usage.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    The best reason to see Melinda and Melinda is Radha Mitchell, who has her grabbiest role (or two of them) since she broke through with "High Art."

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    It's breezy enough, though, as a romantic comedy. And the stakes at risk in it are more grown-up and weighty than those in most Hollywood fare. Like Allen himself, you could do worse.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Paula Nechak

    tTere are two things going for Melinda and Melinda: Woody's not in it and Radha Mitchell is.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Jack Mathews

    But Allen can still write a good joke and there are some here. Not enough to say he has returned to form, but enough to remind you of what that form was.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Allen's best effort since 1999's "Sweet and Lowdown," but that's not saying a lot.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    The dialogue rings tinny in the ear, as if enunciated in the phony arc of a stage light.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Has a fascinating premise; it's the execution that's sloppy.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Whatever you think of Melinda and Melinda, you have to admire Woody Allen for this: After years of criticism that he didn't use people of color in films, he's written two interracial romances.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    Allen has assembled an attractive cast and given most of them clichés to inhabit. He has also stinted on inventiveness.

    Time Full Review
  • J. Hoberman

    Neither comedy nor tragedy, the movie is closest to genteel soap opera.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    A medium-boil good time, mostly for its humor.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    It's all very well to say that laughter and tears are just a heartbeat apart, but both variations on Melinda's story bear the unmistakable mark of Allen's morose sensibilities.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Not since Edward Norton kicked his own butt in Fight Club has the screen witnessed such a brutal self-drubbing.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    When are we going to get a generation of actors who will finally decline to succumb to The Woody Mystique, and refuse to accept a proffered role without first deciding whether the entire damn project is worthwhile?

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    Doesn't entirely work.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Beautifully shot by the great Vilmos Zsigmond, the movie is watchable, sporadically amusing and ultimately frustrating, because Allen is capable of so much more, but doesn't appear interested -- or willing -- to push himself any longer.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Brendan Bernhard

    From its austere opening credits to its screechy women, this 35th film by Woody Allen looks and sounds like a dozen other Allen movies.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Melissa Levine

    It's merely all right--very high-concept and on its way to interesting, but never there.

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    The Australian actress Radha Mitchell is the only reason to see the movie: She has an extraordinary open face and a way of mixing dreaminess with sudden bursts of lacerating emotion that recalls Jessica Lange.

    Slate Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Even these actors -- who, in other pictures, are often wonderful in distinctive ways -- don't seem like themselves: It's as if they've been pulverized and pressed into convenient actor shapes. Full Review
  • Carina Chocano

    Allen's view of what's "deeply real" feels ever more deeply bogus as the movie progresses, his trademark wit having calcified into pastiche and unintended self-parody.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Stanley Kauffmann

    The grave story is leaden, the comic story isn't funny, and the comparison--the rivalry--between the two modes is never crystallized.

    The New Republic Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    It's disconcerting to see Ferrell, a master of macho psychosis, adopt the stop-and-go dithering of Woody Allen-style neurosis.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    A second-rate comedy and a third-rate drama, Melinda And Melinda gives viewers two unsatisfying movies in one. The only genuine tragedy here involves a once-brilliant comedy writer plunging further into a seemingly permanent artistic freefall.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Stephen Hunter

    Give Woody Allen credit for ambition. Failing at one movie wasn't enough. Nearly anyone can do that; it happens all the time. He's chosen to fail at two simultaneously.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    This is mainly a narrative brain-teaser like "Memento" or "The Jacket"; merely keeping up with the game requires so much energy that the thinness of the material becomes fully apparent only toward the end.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    These days, Allen's pictures are more like snuff films, in which the viewer must suffer both gifted actors committing screen hara-kiri and a once-brilliant filmmaker soldiering on with his long, bullheaded decline.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
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