#7 Melinda and Melinda

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Melinda and Melinda

Year: 2004

Director and Screenplay: Woody Allen

As I said in previous entries, my “reviews” are my own opinions about a movie, what my own eyes see. I don’t even like to search anything about the movie before I write my thoughts on it. On the other hand, what I do like to do is search to see what’s the movie about before I watch, usually I only read the storyline or the synopsis, to see if it’s gonna interest me. In this case, I only watched the movie because I wanted to know more Woody Allen movies, I don’t recall if I read anything about it before, but I must have seen something interesting. It took me a while to see it, but finally the time came. In my opinion, things always come in the right time, even if it doesn’t seem so. And that goes for movies and books too I guess. The movies I see or the books I read make sense to me most of the time if I’m the one who’s picking them up, meaning that if someone else is trying to make me see a movie or read a book “out of my time” I wont enjoy it as much and it won’t have the meaning I’m searching for (even if I don’t know I was searching for that certain thing, it ends up making sense).

But anyway, let’s talk about Melinda and Melinda. So far I have been very pleased with Woody Allen. When I was younger I was told he was a bit rude to a journalist from my country who was interviewing him, so I never sympathized very much with the guy… But today I can understand the rudeness and the stupidity of the woman: she asked him to make a joke for the interview… Came on dude… He’s not gonna work for free just for you! Besides, those jokes take time to be constructed! But recently I was told about his personal life and it’s pretty fucked up, so I don’t know what to say about him. Either way that has nothing to do with me and I’m only here to appreciate him as an artist. Also recently I had to to a short-film and I chose comedy, based on the Seinfeld style. I was recommended to see some Woody Allen movies, as the jokes I was looking for could relate. And I wasn’t disappointed even though he doesn’t always go for comedy. In this case, he went for both.

The film starts with a nice dinner between friends who discuss what life is about: comedy or tragedy. One of the friends tells a hypothetical story with a girl named Melinda as the protagonist. The two guys who were more excited about the discussion – they seem to be movie makers – start to explain their own versions of this Melinda’s story. One sees it as a perfect romantic comedy while the other sees a clear tragedy. I liked the tragedy most, I’m kind of drawn to tragic people. But the comedy was sweet. Both versions involved the same elements: Melinda and her friends, broken hearts and love affairs.

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Melinda is a girls with emotional issues, more prominent in her tragic story: pills, cigarettes and a harsh past. So the story is more complex in this version I guess, more heavy if you will. The actors are all different on both stories, except for Melinda: only her characterization changes. Even the music changes according to the genre we are watching. This is what’s interesting about the movie: to see how different people approach a same situation in life. Some say we have to laugh to hide our tragedies, and thus make jokes out of everything, Some say life is naturally tragic and there’s no joke about it. To me both perspectives are right as I see real beauty in tragedy but I think we really have to laugh it out sometimes, otherwise we can’t deal with it… Too bad we can’t always be that strong.

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Don’t need to tell you who is the tragic one do I? Through the characterization of this persona we can see who’s more of a light dove and who’s the wrecked heroine. On one hand we have people who are simple, who are dynamic and happy despite all. We have no tears, no drama, only awkward situations that lead to funny comebacks, for more tragic they can be. On the other hand we have a more sophisticated group: they are rich people, serious, they only laugh to show off, they’re not that happy and the twists in the story don’t lead to funny moments. I won’t talk about the story’s details because what matters to me are THESE details I just talked about (and it would be confusing and a never-ending text): the way one can arrange things to look a certain way (in movies in this case, the technical aspect) and the way people can approach life. Is it really a choice or are some people pre-disposed to be dramatic and others more positive?

The end of both stories are a bit similar, as well as other aspects, with some slight differences. For example: we have two guys who fall fall for Melinda but she doesn’t end up with none of them. There is betrayal in both.  And In both someone tries to jump through a window. In the tragic story, Melinda commits this act, and her story ends with her friend commenting she’s one of those persons who are always going to need help. I see this Melinda as a beautiful person though, meaning she desperately needs love and understanding. (I don’t know, as I said, I’m drawn to tragedy, I have that side.) On the love comedy we see a happy ending, a happy Melinda even throughout the whole movie, despite the pills she took in the beginning – to apparently kill herself! She ends up with the man she loves after all. All ends well.

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But the question remains in the end: is life a imminent tragedy or a big joke we have to make the most of? Tell me your thoughts!