29 January 2005 | OllieZ
Fresh and inventive Woody.
The Purple Rose of Cairo really does rate up there with Woody's best - from Annie Hall, Manhattan to the earlier, more slapstick efforts, such as Love and Death and Sleeper. Cairo happens to be one of the best 80's movies Woody actually made - Crimes and Misdeameanours and Braodway Danny Rose being other greats.
The reason why I think that Cairo is better than the other 80's efforts is that the idea is really inventive. The movie raises so many questions of reality and fantasy, but does so in a highly surreal fashion. The switching of scenes, from reality to fantasy (movie) made me realise where movies take us as a viewer. Cecelia finds solace in the world of movies and comes up against the decision of which is better - the perfect world of movie, or reality, where things are never certain.
Jeff Daniels is so enigmatic in this movie. Not only as Tom, the screen legend, but as Gil the actor. Two very different characters, both played brilliantly. Mia Farrow is great as usual, and shows how broad her talent is (Broadway Danny Rose and Radio Days - both very different characters. Danny Aiello is good as the lazy slob-of-a-husband, Monk.
Like Radio Days, Woody isn't actually on screen (he narrated Radio Days, mind) and in a way this eased me up. Woody is fantastic when he is on screen, but this film benefited from losing his neurotic nature, and instead concentrated on the era, the love of movies and the complex themes of a movie within a movie. I will admit, some neurosis is retained in the dialogue (talk of morality to prostitutes!) - and this added to the surreal nature of the movie.
This has to be one of my favourite films Woody has directed. Annie Hall probably being my fave, Manhattan, Crimes and Misdeamenours and Sleeper following. Cairo is so constantly fresh and inventive, I couldn't help being captivated during it's short running time. I recommend this to any fan - or any lover of movies themselves. A real treat.