Stardust Memories (1980)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Showbiz Comedy, Satire  |   Release Date - Sep 26, 1980 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Dan Jardine

Woody Allen's altar is the art of filmmaking, and Stardust Memories is his crisis of faith. Allen has always used his art to shape and make sense of his reality, but as the film begins, he wonders if he is washed up, an empty vessel, with nothing left to offer that will help ease the suffering in the world. Hence his anger in the face of his loving audience: while Allen cruelly bashes unthinking devotion of the groupie, he also wonders underneath if he has done anything worthy of such unflinching adoration. Allen's follow-up to the beautiful and brilliant Manhattan, Stardust Memories is a similarly gorgeous black and white film (Gordon Willis was cinematographer on both films) which also stands as an homage to Fellini's autobiographical 8 1/2. Told with a mixture of pathos, cynicism and humor, Stardust Memories often divides Woody-philes because the cruel and mocking finger it points at fans and critics indicts Allen's narcissism as much as his insightfulness. However, Allen continues to sprinkle in enough self-deferential humor to ease the sting of his attack. As always, Allen's neuroses infuse his requisite quest for love with a fumbling and bittersweet quality. Allen's ultimate determination that the best way he can serve humanity is "to tell funnier jokes" is not only a great comfort to fans of his comedies, but also Woody's version of a life-affirming statement.