Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Kate Winslet: 'I think on some level Woody is a woman'

Kate Winslet: 'I think on some level Woody is a woman'

But in an attempt to exaggerate Allen's trademarks, "Wonder Wheel" doesn't present anything new to his canon and exacerbates the film's common plot and trite character flaws.

I can admit that these do exist.

The film begins with aspiring poet and playwright Mickey (Timberlake) narrating from his position at bay seven as a lifeguard on the beach at Coney Island. The movie is a visual feast, courtesy of Vittorio Storaro's saturated postcard-perfect cinematography and Santo Loquasto's impeccable period design. "As far as I know", she told the LA Times in November, "he wasn't convicted of anything".

We'll see if that holds up. And they're on their way the hell out of town while Allen soaks in another movie release. "I just think he's very in touch with that side of himself", Winslet said, acknowledging Allen's history of writing complex lead female characters. The camerawork in Allen's customary long takes is fluid, even arresting, but Winslet's performance would benefit from the kind of editing these long takes don't allow. The script also isn't afraid to flip itself upside down, making once cruel characters drastically more likable. She plays Ginny, a volatile former actress who is in a loveless, second marriage to a carousel fix worker named Humpty (Jim Belushi.) This schlub is also the stepfather to Ginny's son (Jack Gore), a film buff and passionate pyromaniac. Belushi brings a touching vulnerability to his under-shirted cartoon caricature, nearly like Stanley Kowalski as played by Fred Flintstone. Juno Temple's Carolina, Humpty's daughter from his first marriage, is Ginny's rival for the affections of Mickey, who strings the two women along until circumstances conspire to solve his romantic indecision for him.

It appears that Kate Winslet isn't trying to rock the boat in her ongoing Oscar campaign for her role in Woody Allen's "Wonder Wheel". For love to bloom in the Allenverse, the woman must be doused, and then handed a syllabus. In one of the most heartbreaking conversations I have ever had, she sat me down and asked me if I was telling the truth.

The good news is that Timberlake, Winslet and Temple are reliably watchable, and that the production design, by Allen's longtime collaborator Santo Loquasto, is pretty, in a garish way. (Allen's dialogue defeats Timberlake's flow.) He even lectures us about hamartia, though it's not clear exactly what tragic flaw it is that Allen sees in his protagonist, Ginny. She doesn't and Ginny becomes more and more grating, and then finally pathetic.

At first, Wonder Wheel might seem a sympathetic portrait of a woman the world doesn't listen to, a woman with the temerity to expect excitement in her life and bed as she approaches 40. If Woody Allen could consistently make movies like this in his older age, I wouldn't mind watching one every year. Just in case you didn't get that, Mickey gives Ginny a copy of Eugene O'Neill's plays, but in her crazed final scene it is Williams's Blanche DuBois that she is channelling. He's a victim of fate: She think he's smart, the clouds are about to burst, and he's got a copy of Ernest Jones' Hamlet and Oedipus to lend her. On working with Allen, Lively said, "It's very risky to factor in things you don't know anything about". It's important that we don't stand for this and that we don't focus on one or two or three or four stories, it's important that we focus on humanity in general and say, 'This is unacceptable.' " But on the subject of Allen, she said, "It's very unsafe to factor in things you don't know anything about. In an opinion column for the Los Angeles Times, Dylan Farrow, whom Allen and Mia Farrow adopted, questioned how the industry that finally toppled Harvey Weinstein and quickly turned on Louis C.K. continues to support Allen - and to silence his accuser. The redhead does something unconscionable to punish the couple and then has to find a way to live with it. At least that's an interesting casting choice by Allen, as he's done so many times over the years, e.g., Andrew Dice Clay in "Blue Jasmine". The little pyro is happy to watch the world he's inherited burn.

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