A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (Woody Allen, 1982)
A wacky inventor and his wife invite two other couples for a weekend party at a romantic summer house in the 1900s countryside.
With a series of masterpieces like Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Stardust Memories in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, actor-director Woody Allen would go on and fell into a more serious state of mind in the themes and stories of his films. With A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy he went back on the more comedic side of his craft. Obviously inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of A Summer Night, the great Swede’s unique comedic success, Allen’s film doesn’t deliver at the level of his aforementioned films or of his inspiration.
Staring himself, Mia Farrow, Mary Steenburgen, José Ferrer, Julie Hagerty and Tony Roberts A Midsummer tells the story of ancient lovers, new love and missed opportunities. Well, some of Allen’s regular themes. Brilliantly shot by legendary cinematographer Gordon Willis we have in place many elements that could have made it a great movie but instead it fells flat and redundant at times. Allen seems to be forcing to get comedic elements into his already comic plot to justify the fact that he has the actual word comedy in the title of the film. However, with his aforementioned successes, he proved he can make intelligent comedy without the physical comedy of his earlier films. The line between romance, comedy, and drama is weirdly crossed in A Midsummer and it makes many awkward scenes and as the viewer I felt distant to those characters. Maybe the countryside is not favorable for Allen and he is more inspired by the city and urban settings.
As a genuine enthusiast of the films of the Woodman, it was the only directorial credit that I needed to watch from his prolific 1980’s decade of great films. My expectations were moderate but I was hoping to get a little gem but not a masterpiece. It is an average to good film but it never really gets on track and works for me. It is a difficult film to rate because its execution with the cinematography is faultless it is more on the content that it stumbles and drags. Although, later in his career, Woody Allen will direct a bunch of worst films that could help make this one feel like a nostalgic piece of the greatest era of his work.