A young couple arrives in New York for a weekend where they are met with bad weather and a series of adventures.
Woody Allen’s latest film has been delayed for a couple of years for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who hasn’t spent that time period in a cave, and the controversy masks a film that likely wouldn’t have made much of a dent in any case. ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ takes place over the course of a day and primarily follows two young lovers, Gatsby (I mean come on….) and Ashleigh, played by Timothee Chalamet and Elle Fanning, who plan to spend a romantic day and evening out in New York. The set up is classic farce and classic Woody Allen, as we follow the duo through a series of encounters that contrive to keep them apart from one another.
This is Allen’s 48th film and there’s a sense of creative fatigue in a tired screenplay that feels like the kind of work he’d have discarded in his younger years. Allen has made 19 films since the year 2000 and for my money, only 3 are truly memorable (‘Blue Jasmine’, ‘Midnight in Paris’, ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’), with his last few films since ‘Blue Jasmine’ in particular decidedly average. Alongside the screenplay is the problem that Allen simply does not know how to write for younger people anymore, and some of the dialogue here is frankly quite painful. A strong ensemble cast elevate the material and the scenes with older performers fare better, but it’s a tough watch at times watching Chalamet and Fanning wrestle with some of this dialogue. Despite that, there’s a whimsical charm about the proceedings and if you can lock into Allen’s style, there are things to enjoy here. He still remains a filmmaker capable of really selling New York, and whilst this ain’t ‘Manhattan’, it does capture many of the city’s small charms, and there’s always a joy in watching a typical Allen story play out, even as it lacks the originality that made his finest works truly sparkle.
As Allen approaches the landmark of fifty films, his output is certainly on a downward trajectory, but as long as he keeps churning out films I’ll likely keep watching them, and there are far worse ways to spend 90 minutes than with ‘A Rainy Day in New York‘.
Directed By: Woody Allen
Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Liev Schreiber, Diego Luna, Kelly Rohrbach, Annaleigh Ashford, Cherry Jones and Suki Waterhouse