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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Husbands and Wives (1992)



Reviews and Comments

By 1992, Woody Allen had directed nearly two dozen films, most of which touched upon some of the same themes, in particular, marital infidelity and what happens to relationships after the initial rush of romance is over.

So, going into Husbands and Wives, a film about two couples who are friends with each other, I couldn't help but wonder what Allen had left to say on the subject. Though many of his movies deal with this idea, they all approach the subject from different angles. But here is a movie that deals with it directly, and with nothing else.

He pulls it off, and I didn't at all feel I was watching a lesser version of an earlier Allen film. It succeeds largely because these characters are originals, however instantly recognizable, and the nuances in their characters and relationships are complex and unique. It is an accomplishment of storytelling that their passions and fears and insecurities make sense to us: that the narrative paints them so plainly and understandably.

There is also a great achievement of acting here. In transitional segments, in which each of the four characters are featured in mock interviews, Allen speaks candidly to the camera about his (character's) feelings and issues, and I reflected that it might be his best performance. It just felt so authentic and real. Then again, perhaps it was.