Synopsis by Mark Deming
Woody Allen wrote, directed, and stars in this very dark comedy about a novelist, Harry Block, who says with admirable honesty, "I'm a guy who can't function well in life, but I can in art." So far, Harry has made his way through six psychiatrists and three marriages (one, conveniently enough, with one of his psychiatrists), and he has precious few friends whom he hasn't alienated or betrayed. Harry uses the chaos of his life as fodder for his writing, angering his friends, lovers, and family, who find thinly veiled (and rarely flattering) portraits of themselves in his work. Drowning his growing misery in pills and sex, Harry finds himself invited to receive an award at a college in upstate New York which he attended, but never graduated from. However, he has a hard time finding anyone who will attend the weekend-long symposium with him: his girlfriend Fay (Elisabeth Shue) has just left him to marry his friend Larry (Billy Crystal); his best friend Richard (Bob Balaban) is afraid he's about to have a heart attack; his former wife/analyst Joan (Kirstie Alley) refuses to let him take their son, and his one-time sister-in-law Lucy (Judy Davis) is literally ready to kill him. Undaunted, Harry hires a hooker, Cookie (Hazelle Goodman), kidnaps his son, forces Richard to come along, and heads upstate, where disaster awaits. A stellar cast appears in small roles and episodes from Harry's stories, including Robin Williams, Demi Moore, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Eric Bogosian, Amy Irving, Richard Benjamin, Mariel Hemingway, and Julie Kavner.
writer, award, kidnapping, journey, prostitute/prostitution, immaturity