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Woody Allen’s Darkly Comical Irrational Man Is Ultimately Problematic

Woody Allen’s Darkly Comical Irrational Man Is Ultimately Problematic


Woody Allen’s latest movie, which he makes pretty much annually, “Irrational Man” is entertaining and had me thinking during its brisk running time, yet is ultimately problematic in the long run. In the spectrum of his latest movies this isn’t nearly as great as “Midnight in Paris” and “Blue Jasmine” but not as dismal as “To Rome with Love” or “Magic in the Moonlight.” Fans of Woody Allen will appreciate a few things about this movie, but he won’t win over the hard-to-please.

Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 3


Emma Stone was the highlight

Emma Stone was the highlight of the film for me. She gave the best performance in “Irrational Man” and proved to be the voice of reason among all the characters. She is maturing into a great actress. “Birdman” will be the moment that changed her career and she continues the trend with another accomplished performance. I really wanted to like Joaquin Phoenix in this and he had his moments, but I was let down by his work. This is nowhere at the level of his greatness and I expected a talented director like Woody Allen to really bring out the wild side of Mr. Phoenix. After thinking it through, I found part of the plot to be over-the-top and unbelievable. I won’t reveal what because it ruins a few third act revelations.

Entertainment Value – 4

I was very entertained following the plot while in the moments and listening to the zippy dialogue. Without revealing intricate plot details, I was enthralled at times wanting to know what would happen next and where “Irrational Man” would take the audience. I like Woody Allen when he is on his game and there are some moments when he is. It comes from observant one-liners and the reaction from his characters. When Emma Stone says “He is very conservative in a liberal way,” it embodies to me the identity crisis and confusion among Millennial political conviction. Woody Allen is good at critiquing American culture and continues with that line among other situations involving college, shopping, and horseback riding.


Woody Allen is good at critiquing American culture

Rewatchability – 2

“Irrational Man” suffers the most in this category. Once you know the third act twists, I think the movie will be challenging to re-watch. Details within the plot will probably unravel. I was fully engaged during “Irrational Man” wondering what would happen next, but I could easily see this losing its power with multiple viewings. It isn’t going to be a memorable Woody Allen movie in the long run. I think the “rewatchabilty” will come from observing Emma Stone’s performance and some of the dialogue, but not the plot. Though the conversations about existentialism could be worth repeat viewings.

  • Cinematics
  • Entertainment Value
  • Rewatchability


Though somewhat witty and darkly comical with a very good performance from Emma Stone, Woody Allen's "Irrational Man" lives up to its name by not logically coming together when you start thinking about it.

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About The Author


Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers working as special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.

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