Woody Allen and Women

Shifting between the silly and serious, Allen gets a star turn from his leading lady but few laughs

QUESTION: IS LIFE A COMEDY OR A tragedy? Answer: It depends on your medication. That, at least, is what the old (young) Woody Allen might have said. But Allen, who turns 70 this year, and whose filmmaking career includes dour dramas as well as his signature comedies of yearning, is beyond making jokes. He saves his wit for his films' structures. In Melinda and Melinda, he imagines the sudden appearance of a neurotic beauty at a dinner party and plays out two variations, one ending with a death, the other with a kiss. Which version does Allen believe? The one that...

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