Soon after arriving to teach at a small-town college, Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) gets involved with two women: Rita Richards (Parker Posey), a lonely professor who wants him to rescue her from her unhappy marriage; and Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), his best student, who becomes his closest friend. While Jill loves her boyfriend Roy (Jamie Blackley), she finds Abe's tortured, artistic personality and exotic past irresistible. Pure chance changes everything when Abe and Jill overhear a stranger's conversation, and when Abe makes a profound choice, he is able to embrace life to the fullest again. But his decision sets off a chain of events that will affect him, Jill and Rita forever.
Just about about holds the attention but expected more from this Woody Allen movie. Unfortunately, Joaquin Phoenix - usually turning in sterling performances - only as good as his script and character, which weren't up to much.
Until I watched Cafe Society recently and which, to my surprise, I rather enjoyed because it was more like vintage Allen, there had been a lengthy hiatus in my Woody watching. Partly, I suppose, because his more recent films are no longer given general release (there are no Independent cinemas where I live) and also owing to the demise of LoveFilm. Thank goodness, then, for the arrival of Cinema Paradiso to provide access to an excellent archive as well as giving an opportunity to see films that otherwise would be unavailable to most film fans.
Irrational Man, however, was not to my liking at all. Not serious drama such as Crimes and Misdemeanors, and certainly not showing the originality of Annie Hall nor the warm romance of Hannah and her Sisters. These are, of course, vintage Allen but Midnight in Paris made it obvious that he still has much to offer.
Not here, however, and I quickly lost interest in the college campus setting and in the self-indulgence of the Joaquin Phoenix character. Better luck next time, I hope.