A Rainy Day in New York

By Joanna Langfield

In his new autobiography, Woody Allen insists, several times, he is an ordinary guy who makes ordinary movies. This, his latest, proves him right. At least for the movie part.

Am I too hard on Allen, the artist? The controversies of his personal life aside, and yes, I am trying to separate all that from the onscreen legacy, some of the films that have shaped my life and inspired my career are Allen’s. Do I take it personally when he fails? Am I disappointed when a filmmaker lays back, takes it easy, when we all know he or she can offer so much more? Yes and yes. And, even acknowledging the man’s age as well as the fact that you can’t hit a homer every time, it does hurt to watch a half-hearted effort, one which edits together repeated themes, it seems, for old time’s sake.

Timothee Chalamet plays the Woody Allen role, a moody schlemiel who is as in love with a damp and dank New York as he is with beautiful women who confound him.  Just about the only intriguing thing in this movie is the character’s name, Gatsby. Make of that what you will. But, hey, it’s something. A promising collection of very good actors do their best with what they’re given, and Elle Fanning is pretty delightful, even when her underwear clad co-ed is asked to run through the streets of the city, albeit in an open raincoat, which Allen has, I assume he thinks gallantly, allowed.