A Rainy Day In New York

**1/2

Reviewed by: John-Anthony Disotto

A Rainy Day In New York
"Throughout, it’s uncomfortable viewing due to the sheer awkwardness of the subject matter."

"I’m not happy with this film, I’m thinking of quitting," filmmaker Roland Pollard (Liev Schreiber) says as he talks about his new movie. This comes across as an indulgent self-reflective monologue from director Woody Allen himself - if only he had listened to his own screenplay.

A Rainy Day In New York is Allen’s 2018 romantic comedy that was put on hold after controversy between Allen and the #MeToo movement. The film focuses on Gatsby Welles (Timothée Chalamet), the son of wealthy New York socialites as he returns for a weekend to show his girlfriend Ashleigh (Elle Fanning) his Manhattan neighbourhood. Ashleigh is travelling to New York to interview Pollard for her university newspaper and quickly becomes entangled in the New York film scene.

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Beyond the leads, there’s a stellar cast, including Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna and Cherry Jones, to name a few. Yet, not even a Chalamet-led cast can save this out of touch screenplay. This is Allen’s 48th film and there’s no avoiding the lack of ideas. This film proves that Allen continues to create to validate to himself and to others that he hasn’t backed down from allegations levied at and stringently denied by him – producing tired art in the process.

As you watch A Rainy Day In New York, it becomes increasingly difficult to feel sorry for Gatsby - he’s a young, smart individual with a talent for words and playing the piano. The film tries to emphasise his apparent misfit status inside the socialite circle of New York yet with awkward dialogue and a bizarre turn of events, by the end credits there’s a feeling of contemp. The narrative around Ashleigh creates doubt for Gatsby as he watches helplessly as his childlike girlfriend becomes involved with the powers of Hollywood. Throughout, it’s uncomfortable viewing due to the sheer awkwardness of the subject matter’s connection to allegations in Allen’s private life, the characters with their poor dialogue and witty demeanour and the situation regarding the delayed release of this film.

Allen’s past films establish a sense of magic around environment and the same is to be said here. The music and piano soundtrack mixed with the beautiful backdrop of New York does indeed create a dream-like atmosphere. Past the setting, there’s not much else to love . A Rainy Day In New York is proof that Woody Allen should take a break from Hollywood for now, if not indefinitely, as his golden years of cinema appear to be behind him.

Reviewed on: 02 Jun 2020
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A Rainy Day In New York packshot
A man plans a romantic getaway with his girlfriend... only for a chance meeting to send things off course.
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