A lot of people say this is Woody Allen's best movie. I wouldn't argue with that, since it is a masterpiece, but I think CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS is better. And let's not forget INTERIORS or ANNIE HALL or MANHATTAN! Jesus Christ, Woody was so great back in the day.
Anyway, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS is anchored around three consecutive Thanksgivings. Kinda like Bergman's FANNY AND ALEXANDER had three Christmas'. The movie opens with a massive dinner celebration taking place on the first Thanksgiving. Michael Caine (who's married to Hannah - played by Mia Farrow) is moaning away over Hannah's sister Lee, played by Barbara Hershey. He is bored with his marriage and deeply in lust with Lee. Lee is in a relationship with Max van Sydow. Hannah's other sister is played by Diane Wiest. She's a drug addicted wannabe actress who is constantly borrowing money from Hannah to support her various ideas like to be a writer or run a cater company. She also once went on a horrible date with Hannah's ex-husband Mickey, played by Woody Allen.
Everything about this film is engaging. The acting, the cinematography, the music, but what makes it such a great movie to me is the script. Every single line is a treasure. Classic Woody Allen. Just look at this passage where Michael Caine is thinking to himself while watching Lee at the Thanksgiving party:
"God, she's beautiful. She's got the prettiest eyes. She looks so sexy in that sweater. I just want to be alone with her and hold her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her and take care of her. Stop it you idiot, she's your wife's sister. But I can't help it. I'm consumed by her. It's been months now. I dream about her, I - I - I think about her at the office. Oh Lee, what am I gonna do? I hear myself moaning over you and it's disgusting. Before, when she squeezed past me at the doorway and I smelt that perfume on the back of her neck - Jesus, I - I thought I was gonna swoon. Easy! You're a dignified financial adviser. It doesn't look good for you to swoon."
I'm swooning just reading it. I would give 10 years off my miserable life if I could write like that. Make that 20, I can't get this shit over with quick enough. But I do get pleasure out of watch old Woody Allen movies. He was so great back in the 80's. So great that I nearly forget he later made MELINDA AND MELINDA. [vomits all over keyboard]
If you've never seen HANNAH AND HER SISTERS I cannot recommend it enough. It has an organic quality. Entirely interdependent, if you know what I mean. I can't put it into words. The important thing is, it breathes. An epiphany of the soul!