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You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (Blu-ray Review)

12 Feb, 2011 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 2/15/11
Sony Pictures
Box Office $3.2 million
$28.95 DVD, $38.96 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for some language.
Stars Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Freida Pinto, Lucy Punch, Naomi Watts.

Hope for the next best thing is what leads the dissatisfied characters of You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger to inadvertently sabotage their lives.

Facing a post-mid-life crisis, Alfie Shepridge (Anthony Hopkins) dumps his wife of 40 years, Helena (Gemma Jones). He hastily marries a ditzy call girl, Charmaine (Lucy Punch), who’s in it for the money. Alfie’s daughter, Sally (Naomi Watts), is fed up with her unproductive novelist husband, Roy (Josh Brolin), and grows fond of her boss, George Clemente (Antonio Banderas), who himself is dealing with a deteriorating marriage.

Roy, feeling pressure from Sally and his meddlesome mother-in-law, has eyes for the woman in red living in the flat across the way. As Roy’s fascination with the engaged Dia (Freida Pinto) increases, his marriage falls apart. Dia calls off her wedding, intrigued by a future with Roy, whose career seems headed for recovery when he pawns off as his own work a manuscript of a friend he thought died.

Meanwhile, Alfie goes broke trying to keep up appearances for his spendthrift companion. Devastated by the divorce, Helena seeks guidance from a charlatan psychic. Cristal (Pauline Collins) predicts that Helena will find a new love interest, giving the old maid a new lease on life. Though she is a phony, most of Cristal’s prophecies come true. As Sally says to Roy early in the film, “Sometimes the illusions work better than the medicine.”

The others, however, don’t fare as well, resulting in an enthralling commentary on love and life.

Tall Dark Stranger has no special features (director Woody Allen reportedly stated in a 2003 interview that he was “not interested in all that extra stuff on DVDs”). But the bonus material isn’t missed, as the film stands on its own merits.

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