Cinema: Chekhovian Sketchwork SEPTEMBER

The trouble with most great comic figures is that they are desperate to be loved. Woody Allen has the opposite problem: people are desperate to love him, and that perturbs his essentially wary and austere nature. Every so often he makes a so-called serious film, as if to test his own integrity and perhaps that of his audience's feelings. When he does, astonishment and disappointment are his unfair rewards.

September, which Allen wrote and directed, is one of these sticky wickets. After a summer, six people prepare to take their leave of a country house owned by the quakingly vulnerable Lane...

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