Blu-ray Review: Another Woman - Twilight Time Limited Edition

By , Contributor
The reputation of Woody Allen's deadly serious drama Another Woman (1988) has grown steadily in the nearly three decades since its release. Perhaps too easily written off as an Ingmar Bergman riff, the ultra-dry film has found greater favor in recent years. That's probably largely down to the nuanced performances by its ensemble cast, led by Gena Rowlands (and bolstered by a supporting turn by Gene Hackman). Twilight Time has issued the film on Blu-ray (as a limited edition, with only 3,000 units pressed), adding to their growing list of Allen releases.

As an Allen nut, I'm glad to have Another Woman on Blu-ray, especially since it's such a clear visual upgrade from the rather unattractive DVD release from 16 years ago. It's a challenging film that examines the life of university professor Marion Post (Rowlands) with an unrelentingly dry eye. So dry, in fact, that its 81 minutes are nearly devoid of emotion. The narrative is not particularly well structured, which leads to that short running time feeling twice as long. Props to Allen for maintaining such an evenly icy tone, but he needed to shift into at least second gear to drive this thing.

Another Woman gene hackman.jpg Allen's main conceit here is rich with dramatic possibilities. Marion has sequestered herself in a small apartment, specifically rented as a hideaway for her to write a book while on sabbatical. Through the air vents she can clearly hear therapy sessions between a psychiatrist and his patients. None intrigues her more than the despondent Hope (Mia Farrow), whose unhappy life leads her to detects numerous parallels in her own mid-life crisis. Though the concept seems promising, Allen approaches the eavesdropping scenario with such restraint, none of Marion's personal tumult ever reaches boiling point (or even a steady simmer). 
 
rsz_anotherwoman_bdbookletcover.png When Allen mixes drama with comedy, he often strikes gold as with his masterpiece Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) or Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989; also released to Blu-ray via Twilight Time). Another prime example of a "serious" Allen film that successfully mixes in some comedy is the criminally underrated You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010). His straight dramas largely remain curiosity pieces for devoted fans, and Another Woman falls into this category.

As per usual with Woody Allen films, extra features are almost non-existent—save for Twilight Time's customary isolated music track. There's also a theatrical trailer and film historian Julie Kirgo's newly-penned booklet essay. Visit the official Twilight Time site or distributor Screen Archives to order Another Woman while supplies last.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is film and music. His new jazz album Good Merlin is now available.

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