By Liz Lopez

Rating: B+

The mere mention of a Woody Allen film can either elicit excitement or thumbs down by film fans. The story he has written and directed for Irrational Man is one that I think will win over viewers who may be on the fence about his work. Much of the pull will come not only for the great script, but from the exceptional performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey and Emma Stone, among the many actors that provide great performances.

Phoenix excels at portraying complex characters and as Abe, he is a college philosophy professor with a checkered past, is superb. He seems like a nice guy in a sinking ship, but the women are still drawn to him and willing to throw away the good thing in their lives. Interestingly, this fellow finds a way to infuse his life with vigor again and it certainly is not the science professor, Rita (Posey) or his student, Jill (Stone), in case you are thinking this may be a predictable romantic drama. I was surprised by the ending and will not reveal it in efforts not to spoil your viewing experience. Go see it.

The filming location is in various parts of Rhode Island and the cinematography by Darius Khondji provides some marvelous seaside scenery when Abe is flying solo or with his women of the moment.

Are you a fan of the mid-60s music of Ramsey Lewis? Then this is certainly a film for you, starting with the song The In-Crowd. When you see the film, you will learn about the other great music used in certain scenes.

My recommendation is not to read too many other articles that provide too much detail on this film. It is one you just select to take a chance on and find you may be pleasantly surprised.

Irrational Man opens in the following Austin theaters: AMC Barton Creek, Violet Crown and Regal Arbor and in San Antonio at the Santikos Bijou Cinema Bistro.


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