For Reel

Play It Again, Sam (1972)
September 11, 2016, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Herbert Ross
3.5 Stars
Play It Again, SamThe opening credits of Play It Again, Sam find Woody Allen with his jaw hanging open as he takes in the final moments of Casablanca. As Rick and Captain Renault walk off into the night, Allen’s maw gapes only wider—it’s a face of comic absurdity, but one which lovers of cinema can’t help but identify with. Shortly thereafter, the lights in the theater go up, people grunt and groan as they get out of their seats, and Allen looks around him to find he’s just some schmuck in a movie theater. If Play It Again, Sam has its problems, it speaks extraordinarily well to those who live in the dark—if being cinema obsessed is not necessarily a problem, Play It Again, Sam muses about what it is to be a watcher and not a doer. The movies fulfill the graceful romantic in all of us, and yet first dates remain clumsy, awkward affairs. And yet, if real life can never mimic our impression of Tinseltown, that doesn’t excuse us from taking control of our lives and pursuing those passions. It is somewhat ironic that the ending of the film carries the emotional weight of a man finally taking action and yet it only fulfills the ultimate movie-lover’s fantasy, but perhaps Allen’s point is that movies inform us and have the potential to afford us a bravery we would otherwise feel incapable of.

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