Husbands and Wives (1992)

Breaking up with a person really does take a lot of energy.

Director Woody Allen stars with Mia Farrow in his comedy as a long-married New York couple whose own relationship starts to crumble when their best friends (Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis) announce they’re separating. Smoldering resentments and unexpected jealousies soon rise to the surface, erupting in savage humor and hilariously unpredictable reunions.

When it comes to showing human emotions, basically about anything, Woody Allen is always known for showing it in its best, and brutally honest way. Although he is a huge dirt, I still love his work and can consider this a good one as well.

The one thing about this film that you have to know is that it’s incredibly honest about how relationships really are. We leave them sometimes, and were not exactly sure, until we start to think about it over ourselves and know we made a mistake. Allen brings that up countless times, showing these 4 characters trying to find anyway of expression of love, so they can be happy, as well as their partner. As usual with Allen, there is plenty of dry humor in this, but it’s also very dark. These people are constantly bickering, fighting, betraying, and hurting one another, all over love, and it’s kind of in a way it’s very mean spirited, but we don’t get that because of Allen’s tone.

I did have a couple of problems with this film that kind of did take the effect of this film down for me. I never understood why they were doing a random documentary feel to the film. It was kind of stupid and didn’t really allow many things to happen on its own, it was just telling us. Also, the little sub-plot between Allen and Juliette Lewis starts off good, but after awhile things just start to get dumb, because I knew what was going to happen between these two, everybody else watching this movie did too, his character was the only one who didn’t know, or even think about it, which was pretty stupid.

Woody Allen is as usual good here, playing Woody Allen nothing else. Mia Farrow is also sweet, but good ehre as well, and this was their last film together until the shit hit the fan with Allen and “his adopted daughter” Soon Yi Previn. It’s weird watching this film, cause the whole time it just feels like fore-shadowing between these two. The two best in the cast without a doubt is Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis who just eat up the screen every time their on it. You can see the emotions they feel, through their speech, and through they way they act, which is something great, cause they use their comedic timing to connect with the audience and make their characters all the more realistic. Liam Neeson is in this two before he became a big star, and does pretty good with the material, giving a lot more to his character than we were expecting.

Consensus: It may not be the best thing Allen has ever done, but it is cleverly written, with enough comedy, and dark drama, to keep you watching, as well with the perfect performances backing it all up.



  1. It’s an alright film – but definetly nowhere near the ‘best’ woody allen films – despite what Woody Allen himself says.

    I thought the documentary-feel was the only interesting aspect to it – iluuminating aspects from the third person, as if the actual situations are separate from the documentary itself. Documentaries analyse, the characters completely over analyse and it is this context that makes them do this.

    You win some, you lose some.

  2. One of my Top 10 of Woody’s for certain. But I feel it is more drama than comedy. I liked the handheld style he went with her and the overly long scenes before cutting. It worked for me with this project. Judy Davis is terrific and again, I love the way Allen delves into the dark areas of human emotions and relationships. Nice write-up.

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