Deconstructing Harry (1997)







Woody Allen, Richard Benjamin, Kirstie Alley, Billy Crystal, Judy Davis, Bob Balaban, Elisabeth Shue, Tobey Maguire, Jennifer Garner, Paul Giamatti, Stanley Tucci, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mariel Hemingway, Robin Williams, Hazelle Goodman, Eric Bogosian, Demi Moore, Caroline Aaron, Eric Lloyd, Amy Irving, Viola Harris, Shifra Lerer


Suffering from writer's block, Harry Block (Woody Allen) remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.


It isn't as charming as "Manhattan" or as philosophical as "Crimes and Misdemeanors", but "Deconstructing Harry" is a hysterically funny film that unfortunately is overlooked by most.

Even though I wrote down the storyline, no synopsis is good enough to do justice to the film's plot. And most important, there are no words to describe how Allen managed to make a story about a writer suffering from writer's block so interesting and engaging throughout. Probably because switching from fiction to reality was a stroke of genius. 

The narrative structure is quite peculiar but does work perfectly. It uses short stories and fragments of novels written by Harry Block - the film's main character - to rebuild, piece by piece, the most important moments of his past, and analyze the crashes - I'm using this word in reference to Paul Haggis's film - with all the people he loved that have made him into pieces.

The dialogue is nothing short of brilliant, but it is more vulgar than many of his earlier films as one of the most discussed topics in the film is sex, and 'blowjob' is probably one of the most spoken words in the picture. And I believe this is one of the reasoned people tend to dislike this film.

Then there's Allen's typical humour, crude at times and poking at his usual groups - mostly jews and prostitutes -, and his typical nonsense funny moments, like Robin Williams's out-of-focus cameo. I know it's silly, but that had me laughing out loud. 

Lastly but not least, the cast. Once again Woody Allen assembled an excellent, stellar cast, and gave each actor enough screen time - and a good character to work on - to shine.

Mention-Worthy Quotes

Harry Block: All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it.

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