Can a blind man direct a movie? Woody Allen’s Hollywood Ending seems to have evolved from this question. Or rather, to ask it more lucidly, what would happen if a movie director suddenly goes blind?
Hollywood Ending was released in 2002. For me, it was one of Allen’s most disappointing films. Longer than his usual standards, the movie did tend to drag at more instances than one. In trying to achieve a comic feel, vainly, a few scenes were stretched too far. And when one tries too hard to make you laugh, you invariably end up crying. Well, Hollywood Ending isn't that bad, but it’s not good either.
The story though is unique. Woody Allen plays Val Waxman, a movie director past his prime. Val’s ex-wife, Ellie, works in a major Hollywood studio and after much prodding amongst her colleagues chooses Val to direct the studio’s new movie. Val, who has been down to directing deodorant commercials, is very obviously elated at receiving the offer. But on the other hand, he is plagued by his divorce with Ellie and can’t get over it. Things move along, the casting and scripting of the movie is done and it’s time to start shooting. But on the night before the shooting is to commence, Val develops hysterical blindness, which is some kind of psychological disorder wherein he actually isn't blind. But he can’t see either. What comes next is that somehow Val manages to direct the movie, with the help of a few people. Later on, he gets his eyesight back, just as easily as it had disappeared. And all is well. A Hollywood ending? Not really.
The movie was received well, but I’m not sure why. However for Woody Allen fans Hollywood Ending might be a good way of understanding how even geniuses skip a beat at times.
Also published on www.reviewcatalogue.com