Vanya On 42nd Street

"Excellent"

Vanya On 42nd Street Review


Someone had an idea: take an 1860s play by classic Russian writer Anton Chekhov, and get director Louis Malle, screenwriter David Mamet, and actors Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, together to make a feature film of it.

The only thing more puzzling than this scenario is the fact that this movie, Vanya on 42nd Street, is a fabulous film. "Uncle Vanya" is the play in question, a tragicomic tale of family members plagued by broken hearts, lost youth, and missed opportunities. The film's premise is that "Uncle Vanya" is being performed by a small theatrical group, and the film simply captures the last rehearsal of the play before the costumes arrive.

The film is absolutely faithful to the play, the stories of young Yelena (played by the stunning Julianne Moore) and her elderly husband Aleksandr, his daughter Sonya and her love for the local doctor, the doctor's pursual of Yelena, and good-hearted Uncle Vanya (Wallace Shawn), who weaves all the stories together. The intricacies of the play could take up this entire newspaper, so I'll leave a bit of mystery to the story to encourage you see it for yourself.

The film belongs to Shawn, who acts with such believable, raw emotion that I left the theater speechless. Rising star Moore is fantastic as well. Be warned, the film makes you work at following the story. It isn't easy to catch all the nuances of speech in only one viewing. But even if you don't get everything there is to get, it's an incredibly unique film worth seeing.



Vanya On 42nd Street

Facts and Figures

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 19th October 1994

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Nanny, as Maman, as Serybryakov, as Waffles, as Yelena, as Dr. Astrov, as Sonya, as Vanya

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