Comedy | Drama
Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, Marie-Christine Barrault, Tony Roberts, Daniel Stern, Amy Wright, Helen Hanft, John Rothman, Gabrielle Strasun
While attending a retrospective of his work, Sandy Bates (Woody Allen), a successful filmmaker, recalls his life and his loves: the inspirations for his films.
Many of Woody Allen's films have been introspective and autobiographical, but "Stardust Memories" takes it to the next level. Unfortunately, despite its many laughs and jokes, the film is mostly tedious and unengaging.
After many comedies and some dramas, Woody Allen questions the meaning of life and the path his career is taking. In order to do that, he copied Fellini's "8½" straightaway. Indeed, the film completely lacks originality. The beginning - a claustrophobic Allen trapped in a railroad car (Mastroianni was trapped in a car instead) -, the black and white photography, some shots - a procession in the background while other characters pop up in the foreground. If it wasn't for the huge quality difference, one might say it's the same film.
Also, this time no effort is made to pretend that the character is anybody but Allen himself - a filmmaker first adored for his earlier funny movies, then appreciated for his deeper pictures. This wouldn't be a problem if he did not call buffoons those who like his early comedies better than his deeper films.
Like I mentioned before there are many laughs, but they produce nothing but wry smiles and rarely - more like never - they are laughing out loud funny.
The three main actresses, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper and Marie-Christine Barrault, all give good performances but their characters aren't entirely convincing.
If all Allen's later films were like this one, it'd be natural to say "I like his earlier, funnier films better".