I always look forward to the release of a Woody Allen film because I know exactly what I’m going to get. But this time, with A Rainy Day in New York, we get Woody in top form.
This release has been met with controversy as several of its stars have denounced Allen over 1992 sexual abuse allegations of one his children with Mia Farrow that resurfaced with the start of the Me Too movement near the end of 2017 after Allen had finished this film. Several of the film’s stars donated their salaries to organizations involved in the Me Too movement. Amazon, who financed the film, refused to release it, calling it unmarketable, but eventually, the distribution rights went back to Allen and he was free to release his own film.
The delay in releasing this film made 2018 a year in which no Woody Allen film was not released since 1981.
Irregardless of whether you don’t want to watch this film because of Allen, it still has the special Allen touch where he makes Manhattan a magical place where anything can happen. Well in this film, anything does happen. Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) plays Gatsby (an appropriate name), a college student in upstate New York whose girlfriend Ashleigh (Elle Fanning) gets an opportunity to interview eccentric film director Roland Pollard (Liev Scheiber), a character that could actually be Allen. Gatsby comes from a very rich family, but he also makes money from high stakes gambling, so he has lots of money for him and Ashleigh to do the finest things in Manhattan at no expense. But when Ashleigh meets Pollard, the troubled director takes a liking to her and invites her to a private screening with his producer Ted Davidoff (a very good Jude Law).
But, in true Allen form, Ashleigh’s day turns into a madcap adventure where she eventually winds up with hot and sexy star Francisco Vega (Diego Luna). While Ashleigh is busy with the stars, Gatbsy continues to wait for her and bumps into his ex-girlfriends’ little sister Chan (a dry Selena Gomez). As Gatsby waits and waits for Ashleigh, he doesn’t want his upper elite parents to find out he is in town as they are holding an exclusive party that evening and he just doesn’t want to go, plus he’s enjoying his time with Chan. While all this is taking place, rain continues to fall, because it’s a Rainy Day in New York.
Allen’s style of filmmaking hasn’t changed much – he uses the same style – and it works – especially in this film. His last few films, including 2017’s Wonder Wheel, were not his best, and A Rainy Day in New York is his best since 2013’s Blue Jasmine in which Cate Blanchett earned an Oscar for Best Actress.
A Rainy Day in New York is humorous, romantic, fun, with a plethora of famous actors ( Sukie Waterhouse, Rebecca Hall and Cherry Jones make appearances – though Gomez is the only false note in the film). Chalamet carries the film with his charming and romantic character. I will continue to look forward to future Woody Allen films – his next one is Rifkin’s Festival – shot in Spain last year and hopefully will be released later this year. I can’t wait.
A Rainy Day in New York is available on Premium On-Demand platforms from 5 June
- Sky Store
- Virgin Media
- BT Store
- Google Play
- Microsoft Store
- Curzon Home Cinema
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.