I was, emphasis on the word ‘was,’ a huge fan of Woody Allen for many years. From his early comedies to his frenetic New York romances, no one was more in tune with the comedic character study than Allen. Then, it seems to me something went wrong. He moved his settings from New York to London and seemed to be searching desperately for his muse. Once again he has missed the mark. I don’t know if the issues that he finds interesting at this stage in his life—aging, dying, the meaning of life—aren’t that interesting to me, but I truly believe that if a fledgling screenwriter had submitted this script it would not have gotten the green light.
Our story begins when Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) leaves his wife of 40 years, Helena (Gemma Jones), and takes up with a much younger, well, prostitute, Charmaine (Lucy Punch). Helena, grasping at straws to find some glimmer of hope in the situation, strikes up a relationship with a ‘psychic’ who provides her with some much needed, if useless, spiritual guidance. Meanwhile, Helena’s daughter, Sally (Naomi Watts), is having man troubles of her own as her one-hit-wonder husband Roy (Josh Brolin) struggles to produce another book. Her greatest solace is her rich and handsome boss, Greg (Antonio Banderas), whose marriage also seems to be on the rocks.
Sound intriguing? It does to me too. The problem is that the only plot line that gets followed through to its disturbing conclusion is Helena’s story. The other characters are just dumped. I don’t know what else to say. The acting, as one would expect, is stellar but the story is woefully lacking.