After a long delay, punctuated by scandal, Woody Allen’s new romantic comedy has been released on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray.
College sweethearts Gatsby Welles (Timothee Chalamet) and Ashleigh Enright (Elle Fanning) are looking forward to a wonderful weekend together in Manhattan. A callow, cynical soul, like his namesake, wealthy Gatsby wants to show naïve, Arizona-born Ashleigh his favorite haunts, booking a suite at the Pierre and drinks at iconic Bemelman’s Bar at Café Carlyle.
But when celebrity-crazed Ashleigh gets a chance to interview surly film director, Rolland Pollard (Liev Schreiber), she’s enticed into a screening of his new film which, in turn, leads her from Pollard to cuckolded screenwriter Ted Davidoff (Jude Law) to lecherous screen star Francisco Vega (Diego Luna).
Meanwhile, Gatsby winds up spending time with Chan (Selena Gomez), the younger sister of his high-school girlfriend. That’s followed by high-stakes poker – he’s a habitual gambler – and an encounter with family friends that compels him to make an appearance at a party hosted by his socialite mother (Cherry Jones), whose unexpected confession rocks his world.
As always, Woody Allen’s dialogue is witty and funny, complemented by musical selections from the Great American Songbook with kudos to cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, production designer Santo Loquasto and costumer Suzy Benzinger.
Originally planned for US distribution last year, Dylan Farrow’s revived, unsubstantiated allegations of molestation caused Amazon Studios to cancel the deal.
Connecticut authorities investigated Dylan’s 1992 claim but never pressed charges, and the New York Department of Social Services found “no credible evidence” to believe Dylan and/or her mother Mia. In 1993, a judge ruled that allegations of sexual abuse were not proven; that decision was staunchly upheld in 1994 and 1995 appeals. For more details, read Allen’s memoir “Apropos of Nothing.”
Bottom line: while it’s not as good as Blue Jasmine or Midnight in Paris, it’s an amusing interlude.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, A Rainy Day in New York is a sophisticated 7, sweetly sprinkled with nostalgic 20th-century cultural touchstones.