A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
New York City. Forty year old Lee Simon, a critically panned two time novelist who works as a travel writer (a job he hates) to earn a steady living, tells his shocked wife of sixteen years, English teacher Robin Simon, that he wants a divorce. Although he had not been happy with Robin for some time, she who he feels is a bundle of Catholic repressions and neuroses especially when it comes to sex, Lee finally came to the conclusion about wanting a divorce upon attending his high school reunion and seeing a roomful of losers, he believing he turning into one of them if he didn't make a drastic change. He gets a job working as a journalist for an entertainment magazine, while he writes screenplays on the side, he believing the latter a good stepping stone to finishing his third novel if the screenplays works out. The journalist job includes conducting interviews with celebrities, not only to who he can pedal his completed screenplay, but also what he quickly learns to who he has easy ...Written by
Charlize Theron, who had been a model before becoming an actress, had publicly vowed never to play a model on-screen. Woody Allen was aware of this, and wrote her a letter specifically asking her to change her mind about that, so that she could appear in his movie. See more »
When Lee crashes into the shop window when driving his Aston Martin with the supermodel played by Charlize Theron on the passenger seat, it is obvious that only the driver doing the stunt is present in the car and that nobody is sitting next to him. See more »
[to Al Swayze, black weatherman]
But you're cheerful, I mean you're all so cheerful.
See more »
The biggest irony in CELEBRITY is how long it took to be released in Brazil: two years. This is not a common thing here, but it has also happened to DECONSTRUCTING HARRY, SWEET AND LOWDOWN and now SMALL TIME CROOKS. It seems that they have something against Woody Allen and his fans, but in fact it is a problem among the distributors. However, the wait was worthy: CELEBRITY is a great film.
It received bad reviews in the US for no apparent reason- here in Brazil the reviews were almost universally positive. Maybe the critics are tired of Woody Allen, maybe they just didn't get his point. The truth is that CELEBRITY is no ANNIE HALL, MANHATTAN, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS or CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, but is a great film overall.
The story is about a divorced couple- Lee and Robin Simon (Kenneth Branagh and Judy Davis), who try to find their position in the society. Lee is a journalist who starts to write about art, so he gets closer to celebrities. He gets involved with lots of women- the futile actress Nicole Oliver (Melanie Griffith) who belongs to her husband only down the neck, a supermodel (Charlize Theron) with an "erotic failure", a cold woman (Famke Janssen) who wants to live with him, and a second rate actress (Winona Ryder) who is not his "obscure object of desire" as he thinks. He is between finish writing his novel (after the bad reviews for his first novel) and trying to sell a script- when he meets another futile star (Leonardo DiCaprio). In resume, his life is a mess with no way-back. In the meantime, his ex-wife Robin, an English teacher, ironically gets more luck than him: she meets a TV producer (Joe Mantegna), who thinks she has a future as a TV presenter.
With a good story in hands, Allen turns it into an acid, funny film. But you know the laughs in his films aren't gratuitous- they come naturally, or depending on the way you get into the scene. And they are also bitter (remember the subtitles scene in ANNIE HALL)- this taste of humor is not for everyone. The funniest, best scene is when the prostitute teaches Davis' character how to do a blow-job, using a banana.
As usual, Allen takes great performances from the whole cast. Kenneth Branagh has been criticized for imitating Woody Allen too much, but I think he did a great job. We already know Judy Davis (especially), Joe Mantegna and Winona Ryder are terrific, but it is a miracle what Allen can do with Melanie Griffith, Leonardo Di Caprio and Charlize Theron, usually bland performers. Charlize is the most peculiar character and delivers a great and funny performance.
The main detail of the film is the use of black-and-white. This is not the first time Allen uses that (MANHATTAN, STARDUST MEMORIES, SHADOWS AND FOG), but it is almost a character in this picture- it shows a world that is even more sufocating than ours. With that, he makes an acid critic about our society, that turns superficial, futile people into instant celebrities. This is not new, of course, but here these people are also victims of the sufocating society. If a society can be interpreted by who it chooses to celebrate, it is worse than it seems to be.
Allen commits some mistakes here and there with his critic, but you don't find many films like this out there- clever, funny, bitter and realistic. Remember the HELP sign on the air...
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