Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)


Comedy | Drama | Romance





Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine, Woody Allen, Carrie Fisher, Maureen O'Sullivan, Lloyd Nolan, Max von Sydow, Daniel Stern, Julie Kavner, Fred Melamed, Benno C. Schmidt, Joanna Gleason, Bobby Short, Lewis Black, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Christian Clemenson, J. T. Walsh, John Turturro, Rusty Magee, Sam Waterston, Tony Roberts


During a Thanksgiving Day party, we meet Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her husband Elliot (Michael Caine), who is in love with Lee (Barbara Hershey), Hannah's sister in a relationship with an old misanthrope painter (Max von Sydow), and Holly (Dianne Wiest), the other sister who is going through a deep crisis.


Woody Allen's directing career has had its many ups and numerous downs. "Hannah and Her Sisters" is arguably another up. The film indeed is a brilliant, thoughtful, funny and very, very smart mixture of comedy and drama about life.

Once again Woody deals with human relationships, and this time he does focusing on three sisters: Hannah, Lee and Holly. Once again the title of the film is not random, and Hannah is the only sister's name in it because she is the family's point of reference. All relationships revolve around her, which appears as a static, ethereal character in contrast to the dynamism, and the psychological and sentimental instability of the other sisters and other characters. 

Allen uses that contrast to emphasize the superficiality of being perfect. Hannah, as Michael Caine says, is a woman "who gives so much and needs so little in return". Therefore what's interesting about perfection? 

The atmospheres well highlight the importance of the relations that bond the characters, and even though Allen throws in some heavy themes revolving around life, love, and death, he does it so cleverly he doesn't allow them to overshadow the characters.

Allen's script is clever and filled with interesting and superb dialogue. His direction also is quite wonderful, and the Manhattan setting, music and photography are nice as well.

Michael Caine is terrific as Hannah's husband, and thoroughly deserved the Oscar. It was quite a shock for me to see a young(er) Caine as well as seeing him pull off such a performance. Woody Allen is very funny as the hypochondriac who tries religions in a search for serenity. Max von Sydow gives a poignant performance too. Mia Farrow and Barbara Hershey also do a great job, but Dianne Wiest is the standing out sister, as she gives a brilliant performance as Holly.

A week ago I bought a rifle, I went to the store - I bought a rifle! I was gonna, you know, if they told me I had a tumor, I was gonna kill myself. The only thing that might've stopped me - MIGHT'VE - is that my parents would be devastated. I would have to shoot them also, first. And then I have an aunt and uncle - you know - it would've been a bloodbath. - Mickey 


  1. I have seen this film and it is quite good. I haven't seen it in years but I did enjoy it. another great review