Despite the mixed critical and commercial fortunes of his recent films, actors still queue up to work with Woody Allen – as is shown by the starry cast he’s assembled for You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, a wry comic fable about love and fate and self-deception. Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin and Antonio Banderas are among this London-set movie’s big names, yet it’s character actress Gemma Jones who delivers the most impressive performance as a dotty middle-aged woman who finds comfort in the soothing predictions of a fortune-telling charlatan (which give the film its title). By contrast, Hopkins is coasting as her Viagra-popping ex-husband, whose mid-life crisis sends him into the arms of a brassy gold-digging Essex call-girl (a hilarious Lucy Punch), while Watts is awkward as their unhappy daughter, stuck in a failing marriage to Brolin’s blocked writer. The film’s pessimistic view of life and relationships probably won’t win the director any new fans, but the intricate, darkly ironic plot should keep the Allen faithful intrigued.
Released on DVD by Warner Home Video on 11th July.