Pros: the director’s distinctive style; camera work; cast; jazz; humor Cons: absurd moments of the script “A Rainy Day in New York” / A Rainy Day in New York
Directed by Woody Allen
Cast: Timothée Chalamet (Gatsby Wells), Elle Fanning (Ashley Enright), Jude Law (Ted Davidoff), Diego Luna (Francisco Vega), Liev Schreiber (Roland Pollard), Selena Gomez (Shannon), Kelly Rohrbach (Terry), Annalee Ashford (Lily), Rebecca Hall (Connie), Cherry Jones (Mrs. Wells), etc.
Studio Gravier Productions, Perdido Productions
Year of release 2019
A Rainy Day in New York could have hit the big screen much sooner. However, in 2017, Woody Allen was reminded of long-standing allegations of sexual harassment, and Amazon Studios refused to distribute the film. For the same reason, Timothée Chalamet and Selena Gomez, who participated in the filming of the comedy, renounced the director. They ostentatiously donated their royalties to support the Time’s Up movement.
At some point, the release of the film was in great doubt, but in Europe, “A Rainy Day in New York” was still included in the list of premieres in 2019. It was shown in Poland in the summer, and screenings were planned in other European countries, as well as in South America and Asia, in the fall. So Allen, accustomed to releasing films almost every year, returned to audiences (but not to US cinema screens). True, now his reputation may affect the impression of the film. But if there is a desire to abstract from the personality of the director, then when watching the movie it remains the same as before: filled with a special love for Manhattan, jazz and literary jokes.
The plot of the film follows a student named Gatsby (Timothée Chalamet). He is the bored heir to a wealthy New York family, weighed down by his mother’s pressure to live up to high society standards. His girlfriend Ashley (Elle Fanning) is an ambitious aspiring journalist from Arizona. The couple organizes a joint trip to New York, where Ashley will have a short interview with a famous director, and then go for a walk with Gatsby through the best places of his beloved city. Their plans fall apart at the very beginning of the day. Ashley falls into a society of madcap filmmakers going through personal crises and loses track of the director. And Gatsby wanders in the rain, meeting an old acquaintance (Selena Gomez), and gradually changes his views on life.
Woody Allen films New York as if modern elements are bypassed by the city and its visitors. Of course, the main characters use smartphones with all their might, but their manners and lifestyle are associated with a different generation. Ashley takes a notepad with her to the interview instead of a tape recorder, eagerly jotting down notes in it. Gatsby, on the other hand, sports a tweed jacket, buys himself a cigarette holder and plays the piano. He is captivated by internal monologues filled with nostalgia, idleness and melancholy. None of the young people look at social networks.
Sometimes characters from the film industry appear on screen, subtly ridiculed by the script. A brilliant director who doubts his talent is played by Liev Schreiber. Jude Law plays his colleague, and the beloved actor is played by Diego Luna. All three periodically keep the main character company, creating a series of absurd situations.
At times it seems that A Rainy Day in New York is a beautiful film of dialogue and chance encounters, with jazz music rhythmically covering the pauses. It becomes beautiful thanks to the brilliant work of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, who was invited to his films by Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci and Francis Ford Coppola.
For the joint film, Woody Allen and Vittorio Storaro gained access to the most picturesque places in Manhattan and were able to film inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The cameraman took elegant angles even at the exits of bars, and illuminated any room with table lamps, reminiscent of the cozy atmosphere of old films. Moreover, Vittorio Storaro placed special emphasis on the rain that accompanies the heroes throughout the day. Not for realism, but for cinematography, he added rays of sunlight to the downpour, which in the end is remembered almost most of all.
“A Rainy Day in New York” is a comedy in which all the plot lines are presented with particular lightness and irony. The humor, atmosphere and charm of the film will appeal to those who have recognized Woody Allen’s other works. Those who couldn’t stand the director’s distinctive style are unlikely to be able to sit through the end of the film.
A light and witty film with a beautiful Manhattan for movie lovers from Woody Allen