Part One: Kirstie Alley to Rebecca Hall

Kirstie Alley
Deconstructing Harry (1997)

The central character of Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry (1997) is Harry Block (Allen), a writer beset by addiction, depression, and writer’s block. As he prepares to return to his University in order to receive a writing award, Harry revisits the real and fictional characters that inhabit his world, and finds the line between them to be blurred. A darkly comic expedition into Ingmar Bergman territory, Deconstructing Harry is possibly Allen’s most acerbic comedy, and — like his Crimes and Misdemeanors and more “serious” Match Point — exposes the consequences of selfishness and romantic dysfunction.

It’s possible to see Allen’s own well-documented trials and troubles in the character of Harry, but there is ultimately little worth in trying to make such connections. The film’s interior reality is already full to the brim with supporting characters and their thinly veiled surrogates in Harry’s stories, and the film thrives off of creative interplay between genuine and imagined events (the outer story and the stories within). Early in, Harry’s therapist tells him, “You expect the world to adjust to the distortion you’ve become.” Harry’s own identity is hopelessly fractured. What invigorates the film is the way in which the women in his life defend themselves against the distorted figures they, too, have become (in his writing and against their will).

While there are several formidable female foils in Deconstructing Harry, including wild, gun-toting Lucy (Judy Davis) and a devoutly religious yet acid-tongued Doris (Caroline Aaron), none has a more powerful effect than Alley’s Joan. To characterize Joan as simply a woman scorned would be a disservice to the range of notes Alley finds for Joan’s fury.

Joan, a therapist, is Harry’s ex-wife and the mother of his son. Though they spar briefly within the present-day plot, the centerpiece of Alley’s performance is a flashback to the day Joan confronted Harry for cheating on her with one of her patients. As Joan unleashes questions on Harry, Alley physically dominates Allen, moving through the apartment like a slow-rolling storm. In the sequence, she goes from anger to despair to total incredulity in the face of his rationalizing. Although the film often jump-cuts to enhance conflict and spontaneity, the technique is largely ineffective in this sequence, because Alley has such a firm hold on the emotional and physical transitions that Joan experiences in quick succession.

The crucial turning point of the sequence is the arrival of Joan’s patient, Mr. Farber (Howard Spiegel). He walks through the door while Joan throttles Harry. For the audience and characters, this is an unexpected development, and it moves Joan to suppress her outpouring. However, given what we’ve seen prior to Mr. Farber’s entrance, this is certain to be only a temporary suspension of the dispute. Joan cannot leave her argument with Harry unresolved, and during the session with Mr. Farber, Alley is just as effective at conveying her quiet rage as she is at shouting down Harry with obscenities. The subsequent alteration between bottled-up wrath and full-tilt verbal assault is Alley’s masterstroke. Joan interrupts the therapy to kick Harry out of the apartment, and poor Mr. Farber is reduced to tears by the dissonance.

The heightened pitch of Alley’s performance is common in comedies of this sort, yet the complexity of her grief is comparable to dramatic touchstones like Miranda Richardson’s breakdown in Damage or more recently, Kristin Scott Thomas’ catharsis in I’ve Loved You So Long. That Alley’s very funny, deadly serious turn in Deconstructing Harry remains more or less unsung is evidence that great acting in comedies often goes unrecognized by critics, even when Woody Allen is at the helm.

In the context of her total body of work, Alley’s activity in the late-’90s was a potential springboard for her film career. However, the fruits of that promise never fully materialized. She is still rightly recognized for her many years of acting in television and has found some success with recent series Fat Actress and reality show Kirstie Alley’s Big Life. Yet to review Deconstructing Harry and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), another dark comedy with a wonderful ensemble cast, is to witness the scene-stealing power of her talent. If there is truth in the widespread observation that Hollywood does not know what to do with actresses of a certain age, then that might partially explain why Alley does not appear in more movies. Regardless, it is doubtful that many of today’s younger leading ladies could go toe-to-toe with an actress so commanding. As Joan, perhaps Alley was too convincingly furious.

Thomas Britt

 

Stockard Channing
Anything Else (2003)

Although Channing’s role as Paula — Mrs. Chase, if you’re nasty — in Woody Allen’s Anything Else (2003) is a small one, it’s an important one which serves as the catalyst for the actions and reactions of many of the film’s characters.

Paula doesn’t so much breeze onto the screen as she blows through it like a gale force wind. The mother of Christina Ricci’s neurotic, hard-to-please Amanda, Paula goes through yet another mid-life crisis, requiring her to move with Amanda and her boyfriend Jerry (Jason Biggs) into their already-cramped apartment. She instantly makes herself at home, bringing all sorts of tchotchkes into the small space and eventually, a large piano she intends to use to practice for her new nightclub act.

Mother and daughter form a tandem in trying to guilt and browbeat Jerry, a young, aspiring comedy writer, into penning between-song banter for Paula’s newly-revived cabaret “career”. Whereas her daughter is whiny and passive-aggressive in her demands, Paula is utterly shameless as to what she expects from others. It’s not hard to see where Amanda picked up some of her more demanding traits, although she’s more subtle in her approach. Paula, on the other hand, has no boundaries whatsoever. Upon discovering that Jerry has purchased a gun for protection, Paula loudly protests that she refuses to live in a house with a rifle, although she’s a real pistol herself.

Yet, it is Channing’s ballsy portrayal of this boozy broad that makes Paula more likeable than she rightfully deserves to be. On paper, she’s the stock Woody Allen shrewish mother-in-law; the overbearing older woman who appears on the scene to upset the apple cart and act as just another cog that throws the nebbishy protagonist’s life into chaos. Instead, Channing endows Paula with an almost innocent self-absorption. She’s constantly on the defensive and hates to be referred to as “Mrs. Chase”, as it makes her feel old. She has no intention to break up the relationship between her daughter and Jerry. She merely wants to make herself at home and make herself feel young, perennially in the process of finding herself.

Despite the fact that she’s the daughter, it’s almost always Amanda who ends up taking on the role of caregiver. Their dysfunctional relationship and the character of Paula are defined in a scene where Paula brings home her 26-year-old horse whisperer boyfriend whom she picked up in AA. (He wasn’t the addict, just “the enabler.”) Blowing in at an ungodly hour after seeing a show, Paula interrupts Jerry and Amanda with the proclamation that “We just saw Elaine Stritch on Broadway. She was great. Want some cocaine?” What ensues is a mother-daughter coke binge as a disturbed Jerry looks on. With her delivery of that single line, Channing defines her character as a brassy bon vivant who is blissfully unaware and unaccountable for her actions.

Her fondness for the occasional toot manifests in the body language that Stockard Channing gifts her character with. Her jerky, spasmodic movements compliment her staccato delivery.

The sole time Paula allows some small bit of soft sentiment to break through is when she sits down to sing at the apartment’s piano, offering her rendition of the Peggy Lee classic, “There’ll Be Another Spring”. Everyone knows Stockard Channing has pipes, proven by her legendary turn as Betty Rizzo in Grease, however, Woody Allen wisely recognized just how adroit the actress is at showcasing emotion in production numbers. When Channing’s Paula sits down at the piano to sing, it’s the lone moment in which she appears human as opposed to being a force of nature. The song’s telling title and Channing’s strong, yet wistful delivery speak volumes about the character of Paula Chase. Beneath the pills, booze, and bravado is just a dysfunctional woman who yearns for her youth and to be cared for.

Lana Cooper

Patricia Clarkson and Penelope Cruz

Patricia Clarkson
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) / Whatever Works (2009)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen’s luxurious Catalan daydream of a film, enjoyed an intense crescendo of buzz prior to its August 2008 release, prompted primarily by reports of the ménage a trois between ascendant sex symbols Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz, and Javier Bardem. Beguiled enough by that trio’s participation, I bought a ticket on opening night unaware of the presence not only of Rebecca Hall as the Allen surrogate of the piece (I assumed Cruz played one of the titular ladies), but also Clarkson in the role of Judy Nash. Judy, an affluent American living in Barcelona with her husband, at first seems to exist only to serve two (admittedly important) narrative functions: as Vicky and Cristina’s hostess, she and her gorgeous house provide them with a physical home-base, and her fluency in local gossip establishes information about, and an important connection to, Javier Bardem’s Juan Antonio.

The character thus seemed destined to vanish out of existence once these linkages were made; imagine my surprise, then, when Allen gifts Clarkson with an out-of-nowhere monologue late in the film detailing her own romantic crises, shading and complicating the younger ladies’ own plights and expanding the film’s universe. Judy unveils a metric ton of neuroses in this one scene, rambling on about her shrink and her husband and her expectations of her own life, but Clarkson keeps it all richly plausible, adding sorely-needed dimension to the character without sacrificing Judy’s fundamental bourgeois inertness.

Her intelligent, nuanced tackling of this small but increasingly complicated role serves as a fitting parallel to Clarkson’s entire trajectory as an actor: popping in and out of uninteresting bit parts for years, Clarkson’s career finally began in earnest on the eve of her 40th birthday, thanks to her magnetic work as Ally Sheedy’s drug-addled lover Greta in Lisa Cholodenko’s High Art. The unbeatable run of supporting turns that followed established her as one of the great secret weapons of American cinema: Far From Heaven’s steely socialite Eleanor Fine, The Station Agent’s weary and unfocused Olivia, and her Oscar-nominated work as the vitriolic Joy Burns in Pieces of April are all divine, exquisitely detailed creations.

Her soft but throaty voice in particular gives each of her characters real presence: the way she spits out the line “Your gardener?” in Far From Heaven is more memorable than the entire character would have been in the hands of most other lesser performers. Patricia Clarkson is more than a scene-stealer, she’s a true maverick: though she may not always enjoy the plum leading roles of co-stars and contemporaries Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman, she, like Vicky’s Judy Nash, makes serious, unexpected impact when you least expect her to—the grace and complexity she brings to her roles instantly amps up the quality of every project she participates in.

For an actress, especially a previously-unknown one, to find any success after her thirties is rare, but Clarkson has proven herself a true anomaly, as her status only continues to grow as she enters her 50s. Parts like Pieces of April’s scornful Joy and Dogville’s shockingly villainous Vera gave Clarkson ample room to explore darkness, but her collaborations with Allen have unveiled a totally new side to Patty: her deep croak of a voice and willowy frame imbue Judy Nash and Whatever Works’ Marietta with a vibrant, disarming sex appeal. Both characters may enter their respective films as maternal figures, but they emerge as radiant, womanly equals to Clarkson’s younger co-stars: Marietta’s glowing, Mississippi-lilted joie de vivre quickly attracts the attention of just about every male character in Whatever Works; Judy’s final-act affair situates her as a sister to Johansson, Cruz, and Hall and their quixotic shenanigans.

These reversals of expectations extend beyond her characters, as well: Marietta’s transition from bigoted steel magnolia to headscarf-adorned bohemian should be ludicrous, but Clarkson sells her awakening so vividly that the entire film feels the impact: her co-stars appear warmer and more comfortable, the staging feels less clumsy, and every character suddenly seems likeable. Recent turns in films like Elegy (she performs a striptease!) and Cairo Time (her first romantic lead!), as well as her side-splitting appearance as the ultimate MILF in the Saturday Night Live sketch “Motherlover”—suggest that the sensuality Allen helped to untap in Clarkson is a true force against ageist perceptions of sex, and a cinematic gift that will keep on giving.

Lee Dallas

 

Penelope Cruz
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

“If you had only known her when I first met her, I mean, her beauty, her beauty took your breath away. And she was so talented, she was so brilliant, she was so sensual, and she chose me from a hundred men who were ready to kill for her.”

– Juan Antonio describing Maria Elena to Cristina.

Penelope Cruz doesn’t even show up until halfway through Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona and yet, she makes such an impression that her total amount of screen time seems irrelevant in the end. Cruz plays Maria Elena, the ex-wife to Javier Bardem’s Juan Antonio, whose recent suicide attempt brings her back into his life. Her dramatic introduction serves as a meaningful glimpse into her character. Her arrival is unexpected and disruptive, especially as Juan Antonio is currently living with his girlfriend, Cristina. Yet eventually she also brings a sense of peace and contentment to the couple, short-lived though it may be.

Maria Elena is unstable, impulsive, and highly emotional and Cruz finds a way to play all these extremes while still maintaining a balance that grounds the character. There is a real sadness to Maria Elena and though her suicide attempt may be treated somewhat lightly in the film, Cruz never gives into playing it for laughs. She is troubled and has a complicated history with Juan Antonio and her openly suspicious nature is immediately apparent.

Cruz could’ve gone all out and played Maria Elena as completely unhinged and over the top. However, there are moments throughout the film that emphasize just how charismatic both the character and actress are, and in turn she can’t help but draw others in. Yes, Maria Elena certainly has her funny, lighthearted moments such as when she admits to Cristina that she searched her things the night she arrived. This moment also serves to highlight Cruz’s subtle choices. While it is a funny line and Maria Elena says it with all seriousness, there is still a melancholy that manages to come through despite the ridiculousness of her admission.

As Cruz plays Maria Elena through depression, happiness, creative high points, and a further breakdown, the shifts are seamless. Maria Elena is a complex character, one that is difficult to pin down and classify right away. The real key to understanding her lies in understanding how strongly she feels. She is immensely talented as an artist, to the point that she accuses Juan Antonio of stealing some of his creativity from her, yet at the same time her emotional instability makes it impossible for her to maintain any real happiness. There is also a strength to Maria Elena that makes her sympathetic even as the audience has spent the better part of the movie becoming invested in other characters, some of whom are initially directly at odds with her.

The relationship that develops between Maria Elena and Cristina (and then eventually between the two and Juan Antonio) is played so genuinely by Cruz that a frequently cheap plot stunt becomes a natural progression in an unconventional relationship. Much of that is due to Cruz’s complete commitment to the role and Maria Elena’s obviously open and freethinking tendencies.

Cruz deservedly won the Oscar for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and her contribution was the standout in a film filled with wonderful performances. As soon as she appears onscreen it’s impossible to not be drawn to Cruz’s Maria Elena. She is immediately magnetic and the audience can’t help but be simultaneously amused by her audacity, as well as empathize with her struggles. She steals every scene she’s in and Vicky Cristina Barcelona wouldn’t be nearly as engaging without her.

J.M. Suarez

Judy Davis

Judy Davis
Alice (1990), Husbands and Wives (1992), Deconstructing Harry (1997), Celebrity(1998)

According to Judy Davis’ Sally, all people fall into exactly two categories: “fox” and “hedgehog”.

What does she mean by this? Why is she obsessively demarcating her acquaintances into these two groups during her first tryst with the hunky Michael (Liam Neeson)? The “fox and hedgehog” scene is a revelation both in terms of the character and the performer: the scene affords Davis a rare chance to show Sally’s vulnerability, sadness, anger, revelation, and razor-tipped, rapier wit – some of the signatures that link the actresses’ gallery of strong, opinionated women in films such as My Brilliant Career (1979), The Ref (1994) and Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, where she blazingly portrayed the troubled title star, and for which she took home her third Emmy.

What does the animal metaphor mean? Perhaps nothing, but for Sally, this discovery of the hidden ‘truth’ about everyone is a turning point in Allen’s story; a profound crossroads where she finally understands herself, her lovers, and her friends and changes from cold to warm. You see these realizations all play out on Davis’ face during this particular scene. In the beginning of the film, she is all sharp edges and angles, hard to handle, but by the film’s end, after she has discovered the “fox and hedgehog” analogy, Sally is able to cope with her own frazzled, confused emotions, whereas at the outset, she might have been read as brittle and high strung. In the first scene of the film, Jack (a brilliant acting turn by director Sydney Pollack) and Sally go to Gabe and Judy’s (Woody Allen and Mia Farrow) apartment for a pre-dinner glass of wine and announce they are separating after many legendary years together. They claim that they are at peace with this revelation, but their impending divorce sets into motion a chain of events that will shake the core of all of the romantic relationships closest to them.

Every character in Husbands and Wives is questioning or examining who and why they love, but it is Davis’ Sally that gets closest to the ‘truth’ and goes through the most discernible changes, mainly thanks to Davis’ gift for chameleonic physical change by simply using her face, voice, posture and detailed, thoughtful gestures throughout. Davis can work a cigarette and a glass of dry white wine like no other actress can and wrings every single ounce of juice out of each minute she is onscreen – you cannot take your eyes off of the buzzing fury that is Sally, even though there is something vaguely unlikable about her, something a bit too brash and intimidating (the scene where she tells off Pollack’s Jack as she is preparing to go on a first date will make you scream with laughter and shudder with embarrassment).

Davis avoids falling into a pit of neuroses and caricature, grounding Sally with a deep, real depression that gradually falls away as she takes control of her own desires. Davis, who was the favorite to win the Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in Husbands and Wives nearly 20 years ago, is in my mind perhaps the singly most egregious Academy snub of a truly deserving actor during the entirety of the ’90s (she lost the statue to Marisa Tomei’s comedic turn in My Cousin Vinny in a shocking act of extreme xenophobia from awards voters and perhaps bad will towards Allen given the timing of the film’s release). Though Davis knocked it out of the park with her performance as a scorned lover filled with righteous anger in Allen’s 1997 Deconstructing Harry, and gamely suffered through the tedious Celebrity in 1998, Husbands and Wives, a film that is dually, justifiably noted by Allen himself as a favorite in his cannon, criminally remains her last Academy Award nod to date.

Perhaps it is high time for the fox to re-team with the hedgehog?

Matt Mazur

Mia Farrow and Rebecca Hall

Mia Farrow
A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982), Zelig (1983), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Radio Days (1987), September (1987), Another Woman (1988), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), New York Stories (1989),Alice (1990), Shadows and Fog (1991) and Husbands and Wives (1992)

Mia Farrow was a celebrity sensation long before Woody Allen came along. Her father was a film director and screenwriter (John Farrow won the Oscar for Best Screenplay in 1956 for Around the World in Eighty Days), and mom was Irish actress Maureen O’Sullivan (best know as “Jane” in Tarzan). Her godmother was the alternately celebrated and feared gossip columnist Louella Parsons. Farrow herself, by age 18, was seasoned actress thanks to a two-year stint on the popular television series Peyton Place (1966 – 1968). In the aftermath of teenage stardom, the actress would go on to work with Roman Polanski (delivering an iconic performance in 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby), Peter Yates (John and Mary, 1969), and Robert Altman (A Wedding, 1978). Farrow was even married to Frank Sinatra for a brief, scandal-filled time. But in inspiring Allen for over a decade to write what are arguably some of his best female roles, Farrow was catapulted into a whole new celebrity status during the ’80s: legend.

Over the ensuing years, Farrow has been the focus of much intense media scrutiny, both for her public and her private lives as an actress, a committed activist and humanitarian, a mother, a wife and a woman. In this decades-long conversation shamefully little attention is usually paid to the fact that Farrow’s longevity in the business is most certainly due to the fact that she is an actress of capable skill, depth and instinct. All of these qualities were greatly enhanced by her partnership with Allen, which began with A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982) and continued through her one of her most assured, bare performance in their final collaboration, Husbands and Wives (1992). As Judy, a brittle but ultimately at peace woman who is full of contradictions and conflicting desires, many critics speculated that the character was an abrasive send off by Allen, given the timing of the film’s release, though it could be argued that the role actually provided Farrow with one of her meatiest parts to date, perfectly balancing her talent for switching from bright comedy to searing drama sometimes within the same frame, as well as reflecting her maturity and experience as a performer.

Two years earlier, her sublime work in Alice explored and enhanced the tertiary colors and textures Farrow had extensively, artistically experimented with throughout her career in a way that perhaps no other role she has played has. Farrow’s performance in the film is constantly engaging, she’s in almost every scene, and she must anchor Alice with her charm and effervescence; remaining whimsical and magical without ever being precious. Displaying formidable range, Farrow’s sweet, nostalgic ingenue Cecilia in The Purple Rose of Cairo contrasts beautifully with her other memorable characterizations from this period in underrated Allen constructions Zelig (Dr. Eudora Fletcher, a psychologist working on a legendary case) and Broadway Danny Rose (Tina Vitale, a blonde-bouffanted gangster’s moll in tight capri pants). Each of these women marks a new adventure for the actress, who gamely puts it all out there, every time, without hesitation, vanity or unnecessary braggadocio. It is a crime that an actress of Farrow’s stature has never been nominated for the Oscar despite a career of unique female characters both in and outside of the Allen ouevre.

While it’s undeniable that the union of Allen and Farrow has lead to something much more complicated than their filmic collaborations (and much more personal and private), their names will likely forever be linked because of the unforgettable cinema they created together, and what their artistic union yielded is truly remarkable. As Allen’s hero Ingmar Bergman showcased the work of Liv Ullmann, Farrow became a similar compatriot during their time together; a determined, nurturing, reflective presence that elevated the women she played – who at times were perhaps unfairly or more slightly drawn than others – into a pantheon of unforgettable pairings of director and muse. When you think of John Cassavetes, you immediately associate his work with Gena Rowlands. When you think of Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro comes to mind. It is the same with Allen and Farrow.

Though it is very difficult to separate the public and the private, their once friendly, romantic, goofy on- and off- screen love is a force to be reckoned with, and their legends were not always marred by scandal and tragedy as we now remember them. From the beginning to the end, this relationship that ended in pain, in a very public forum that poured down judgment on both Allen and Farrow, is forever immortalized in celluloid, laid out for the spectator to either embrace or reject . I choose to embrace their cinematic partnership and follow the example of Molly Haskell, who addressed the major conundrum of being a feminist film critic in her book From Reverence to Rape, by declaring the “critic” came first, the “feminist” second. The film critic side of me cannot deny their legendary achievements, the synergy and symmetry born of their coupling, and I can truly enjoy these fruitful collaborations, particularly the under-appreciated work of Farrow as an actress, something most people and most critics have shamefully overlooked in all of the gossipy hullabaloo. In a 2008 interview with the Guardian, a peaceful Farrow puts the Allen years quite succinctly into perspective as “all just part of a strange history.”

Matt Mazur

 

Rebecca Hall
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Hall was a relative newcomer to the world of feature film when she was cast as one of the title character’s in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Prior to the 2008 release, she had only been in two films: Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige and the English Starter for Ten. It was Vicky Cristina Barcelona that really got her noticed.

Despite not having the name recognition of Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson, or Javier Bardem, it was Hall’s character that was the central focus of the film. Hall was Cristina, one half of the globe-trotting pair of American college students out to discover European culture. While Scarlett Johansson’s Vicky was out for romantic flings and dark men, Vicky’s intentions were a little more academic: she was studying Catalan culture for her master’s degree.

Hall’s performance as the neurotic and self-aware intellectual is a major part of the movie, but it’s her dichotomy from Cristina that is the major thrust of the film. You almost wonder how the two are best friends at all. Their ideas about life and love are so very different. Vicky knows exactly what she wants, and she has it: she is engaged to Doug, a smart, good-looking, and successful man. Cristina on the other hand, doesn’t know what she wants, but she knows exactly what she doesn’t want: Doug. But they both shove off to Vicky’s relatives’ house in Barcelona. The one thing they do both have in common is their chase for romanticized ideals, Cristina’s of love and Vicky’s of European’s high culture.

The first scene where Vicky’s identity and persona become self-apparent is the scene where the two women first make contact with Javier Bardem’s Juan Antonio. Not one to mince words, Juan Antonio propositions the two of them. “Look, señior, maybe in a different life,” Hall quips back. When Juan pushes further, Vicky suggests that his desires come from the pain he feels from his former failed marriage. Cristina, on the other hand, agrees to go to his room.

Although Hall’s performance exhibits characteristics of a Woody Allen surrogate performance (particularly in delivering her lines), there is something that feels very different. She’s just as smart and neurotic, but she seems more practical and has undercurrents of inner-doubt, features that most of these type performances do not have.

Vicky scoffs at Cristina’s willingness to accept the stranger’s invitation, but as the trip goes on, she begins to fall for Juan Antonio herself. Here, Hall allows that inner-doubt to take over. As she questions what she wants out of a partner and out of life, she begins to question herself. “I was always someone who thought I knew exactly what I wanted,” she tells a classmate. The feelings she is experiencing now are new to her. She is experiencing the ephemeral romance that Cristina set out to find, not Vicky. “I just married the guy I wanted,” she continued with her classmate. “I thought so.”

In the beginning of the film, Vicky know what she wants and has it, while Cristina doesn’t know what she wants. In the film’s bittersweet ending, they both go back to where there started off, yet Vicky is no longer sure that she wants it. It’s the status quo for Cristina, but there’s a bitterness where Vicky ends up. There is a hefty amount of tragedy in Hall’s performance.

Joshua Jezioro

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