Whatever Works

Woody Allen's latest
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“This is not the feel good movie of the year,” explains Boris Yelnikoff, the exceptionally misanthropic character at the centre of Woody Allen’s latest offering, a comedic tale that recalls all the best elements of Annie Hall, Manhattan and Play It Again, Sam.

It’s a bold introduction to a monologue that establishes Yelnikoff as a Noble Prize nominated physicist, whose worldview is of the half-glass empty variety. A divorce and a failed suicide attempt haven’t helped matters, but there’s solace in finding a happy milieu. Or as Allen more succinctly puts it, whatever works.

In a stroke of casting genius, Allen sought everyone’s favourite modern day misanthrope, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David to play Yelnikoff, although it later transpired that David was less than enamoured with the idea of taking the role. Thankfully those fears are unfounded as David plays out the character of Boris with assured verve. The film’s emotive moments allow David to show an aptitude to his acting that will surprise most of his fans.

As with many of Allen’s films there is an excellent supporting cast, in particular Evan Rachel Wood as a naïve southern belle whose chance encounter with Yelnikoff instigates his redemption.

9/10

Words by Morad Khokar



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