A Rainy Day in New York – A decidedly damp affair

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Despite featuring some of the finest on-screen talents of recent years, the latest film from Woody Allen, A Rainy Day in New York, is a decidedly damp affair. Its narrative is a combination of nostalgia, affluence, and whimsey, creating a film that feels disconnected and distant – a relic from another time. Of course, artistically, the dreamlike aesthetic of the film may well have been Allen’s intention, creating an almost theatrical and displaced reality where love can grow, and there’s no doubt this is a Woody Allen vehicle from the start. But alas, it lacks any of the magic found in some of his previous work. In many ways, A Rainy Day in New York feels symbolic of a director retreading old ground and past glory as they desperately attempt to find a new audience.

Gatsby Wells (Timothée Chalamet) is a student studying at the prestigious and fictional Yardley Art College in upstate New York, where his family’s wealth and privilege allow him to indulge in gambling, Cole Porter, cigarettes, and lazy Sunday afternoon romance. His girlfriend Ashleigh (Elle Fanning) is a journalism major who loves film and art but lacks self-confidence in her abilities. When Ashleigh receives an invitation to interview a famous film director for the college newspaper in New York, our young lovers head to the city for a romantic weekend, where Gatsby is keen to show Ashleigh all his favourite haunts with some recent poker winnings. However, he also wants to avoid his mother’s extravagant annual party at the grand family home in Manhattan. But the Big Apple has other plans for our couple.

While A Rainy Day in New York looks beautiful in the hands of Vittorio Storaro, it feels strangely incomplete, with Allen’s dreamlike and timeless vision of New York lacking any depth or humour. Of course, the sexual abuse allegations levelled at Allen and denied in public left a bad taste in the mouth of the film’s stars and the original distributor, Amazon Studios, and maybe that’s why no one particularly seems to want to be there. A Rainy Day in New York will no doubt find an audience thanks to its young cast but not even they can save this disappointing mess.

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Timothée ChalametElle FanningLiev Schreiber, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna

Timothée Chalamet also appears in The King, Beautiful Boy and Call Me By Your Name

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