Review by Brian Koller|
3½ stars out of 4
"The Purple Rose of Cairo" is an imaginative and clever
comedy, directed by Woody Allen and starring Mia Farrow
and Jeff Daniels, who both give strong performances.
The film is set in a small town during the depression
of the 1930s. Farrow plays a klutzy waitress and abused
spouse whose only escape from dreadful reality is
the local movie theatre. While watching a particular
film for the fifth time, one of the characters
(Daniels) steps out into the theatre from the movie
screen to romance her.
This is the first of many surprising, original,
and humorous plot twists, all of which work very well.
Daniels-the-character is a naive, good-natured
person with little knowledge of the real world,
and the resulting misunderstandings (he can't spend
his play money, he is clueless about prostitutes)
are very funny.
Soon, Daniels-the-actor comes to town from Hollywood
to confront Daniels-the-character, while Farrow
must choose between the two Daniels and her
good-for-nothing husband (Danny Aiello). Allen
remains behind the camera.
Allen, while making us laugh, has a couple points
he is getting across. He lampoons Hollywood hypocrisy,
which is present in the 1930s as in any era. The
various actors come across as petty, manipulative
and self-involved. The film also has a negative
depiction of men. Of all the major and minor male
characters, only Daniels-the-character, who isn't real,
is a swell guy. Other characters, including the
husband, Daniels-the-actor, and the restaurant owner,
do not come off well.
"The Purple Rose of Cairo" won the Golden Globe award
for Best Screenplay (by Allen), and was given an Oscar
nomination in that category.
Copyright © 1999 Brian Koller