Deconstructing Harry (1997)
"Harry Block wrote a bestseller about his best friends. Now, his best friends are about to become his worst enemies. "Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
One Of Woody's Best
In a string of films that recapitulate familiar themes, this one stands out
as perhaps the loudest cry of anguish and self-loathing, and it's a comedy.
Where Woody Allen has paid serious hommages to other artists' bleak
"heaviosity" (his word) and inevitably come up short, here he does a
blistering comic riff on two of the greatest films of the 20th century,
Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" and Fellini's "8½."
The parallels to the Bergman film are obvious and much discussed. The bits
of Fellini are less often recognized, including the complaining wife, the
impossible mistress, other people's demands creating a totally chaotic
existence, closing with a yearning fantasy of getting everybody in his life
together in one place and time to create harmony and wholeness. In Woody's
version, we even have a double for Mia in the reunion, as if some kind of
healing reconciliation were possible.
So Woody hits the wall, looks at his life, can't stand any of it and rips
the bark off his own skin. What can seem like self-indulgence in other films
is not forgiven here. He writes scathing, vituperative attacks on himself
for other character's mouths and the viewer can only gape.
Lots of fun, but not for the whole family.
The only mystery is why, at the time I write this, Imdb singles out such a
lame misfire of a slam for the first page of this movie's entry. Just about
anybody else who has posted has a better understanding of the