Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Retro Review: THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (1985)

Welcome to another installment of RETRO REVIEW where we take a trip back in time to look at films made before the year 2000.  Today we review the 1985 Woody Allen film, THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO.  Enjoy!

One of the most magical films I have ever seen, Woody Allen's The Purple Rose Of Cairo will steal the heart of any film fan, and pretty much anyone, if you have a beating heart ;). The tone of this film is excellent, balancing drama, comedy and good old fashioned whimsy.

The way Allen incorporates his obvious love of cinema does not feel forced, it feels endearing, and relatable to cinefiles who treat the movie theatre like a second home, or to some people, like Mia Farrow's character, their true home, where they feel most safe and comfortable.

The cast is incredible, ranging from brilliant performances by Mia Farrow, to an off the charts charming Jeff Daniels, who steals every scene he is in. Daniels brings that charm to both Tom Baxter and Gil Shepard, Baxter being the movie character who walks out of the screen and into Cecilia's heart (Farrow), and Shepard, the movie star who portrays Baxter, who also charms Cecilia.

Also to note, are the excellent performances by the other movie characters who are dumbfounded when Baxter leaves the movie and enters reality. From the dearly departed Gilmore Girls alum Edward Hermann, to Tony nominee Deborah Rush. They all exude such gravitas, whilst being so confused as to what is going on!

A performance that is fine, but a little hammy is Danny Aiello's portrayal of Cecilia's abusive husband. It isn't that he is bad, because he isn't. He just feels a little one note, whereas Farrow's and Daniel's character's are not.

The Purple Rose Of Cairo will also make people ponder the difference between reality and fantasy, and which is better, or worse.

The ending is polarizing, and not to get too "spoilery", but I think some people misinterpret what the ending means. I think it leaves some people feeling a little sour, but for me, it hammers home the importance of the movie theatre to those who feel like outcasts, or have trouble at home, or just love film so much. The ending for me, encapsulates what The Purple Rose Of Cairo is, an ode to movies, to the fantastical, to the fantasy, but not in a cynical way, but instead in a loving way, and if I had to choose just one word to describe this film, it would simply be, lovely.

Sammy's Score: 10/10

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