The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)


"The "Purple Rose of Cairo" is audacious and witty and has a lot of good laughs in it, but the best thing about the movie is the way Woody Allen uses it to toy with the very essence of reality and fantasy."

Set during the Great Depression, the main character, a woman (played by Mia Farrow ),  is a sweet, rather baffled small-town waitress whose big, shiftless lug of a husband bats her around. She is a good candidate for the magic of the movies. Up on the screen, sophisticated people have cocktails and plan trips down the Nile and are recognized by the doormen in nightclubs. 
The hero in the movie is played by Jeff Daniels .He is a genial, open-faced smoothie with all the right moves, but he has a problem: He only knows what his character knows in the movie, and his experience is literally limited to what happens to his character in the plot. He’s great at talking sweetly to a woman, and holding hands, and kissing—but just when the crucial moment arrives, the movie fades out, and therefore, alas, so does he.
"Purple Rose" is delightful from beginning to end, not only because of the clarity and charm with which Daniels and Farrow explore the problems of their characters, but also because the movie is so intelligent. It’s not brainy or intellectual—no one in the whole movie speaks with more complexity than your average 1930s movie hero—but the movie is filled with wit and invention, and Allen trusts us to find the ironies, relish the contradictions, and figure things out for ourselves. While we do that, he makes us laugh and he makes us think, and when you get right down to it, forget about the fantasies; those are two of the most exciting things that could happen to anybody in a movie. The more you think about "The Purple Rose of Cairo", and about the movies, and about why you go to the movies, the deeper the damned thing gets.

It is one of 3 Woody Allen’s own favorite films.   
"Beloved by critics if not so much by audiences – not only is it great, it’s the the kind of film that only Woody Allen can make."

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