The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

Article 5039 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-4-2016
Directed by Woody Allen
Featuring Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello
Country: USA
What it is: Fantasy

During the depression, a neglected and abused housewife seeks solace by going to the movies. After seeing a particular movie several times, one of the characters takes notice of her and comes out of the screen to be her lover and to live in the real world.

According to the trivia section of IMDB, Woody Allen was asked why the movie didn’t have a happy ending. Allen replied that the ending it had “was” the happy ending. If this doesn’t make sense at first, it’s important to keep in mind that the movie is about our love for the movies themselves, and not necessarily for specific actors or characters. It borrows a concept developed by Buster Keaton for SHERLOCK, JR. and uses it brilliantly for both comic and poignant effects. It’s no surprise that he chose the time of the Great Depression as his setting; it was perhaps the time in history when the movies were at there most vital at keeping up the spirits of the average American. The scenes where the characters on the movie screen try to deal with the departure of one their own and there conversations with some of the audience members are some of the funniest lines written by Allen, and the script is one of the most focused of the ones I’ve encountered. The cast does fine work throughout, particularly Jeff Daniels in a dual role. I don’t know if this is Allen’s best movie, but I’m willing to bet that this may be the best movie of his that I’m going to cover for this series.


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