Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Purple Rose of Cairo. B+


Woody Allen isn’t after any depth in The Purple Rose of Cairo. On the surface, it appears as just a trifle, and in some ways it is. But I think it’s also one of Allen’s most beguiling films. He begins what really is an amazing magic trick with his establishing theme: the ability of a movie theater to serve as sanctuary from a difficult life. In this case it’s Mia Farrow escaping the difficulty of the great depression and maybe worse, a careless husband. So she finds refuge at movies, or, in this case, a movie, The Purple Rose of Cairo. Allen’s opening premise of his theme is the cliché movies are magic. They take the viewer into other places, allow belief to be suspended, etc. Allen then takes things further, making magic real. And what’s so effective about this is that he presents such a real world by using the Great Depression as his backdrop. I feel there are a good deal of people who have not been introduced to this gem (certain titles seem to get lost in the shuffle of Allen's expansive filmography), so the magic trick will have to wait. It's best to sit back and see the film knowing nothing about it. I guarantee you'll be charmed. People love Midnight in Paris because Allen makes the impossible suddenly possible. But few seem to recall that he did the same thing back in 1985.

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