Directed by Woody Allen
“September” is Woody Allen’s attempt to create a “chamber piece”. A film that involves a very small cast and only one location. Had I known that before I would have checked out this film much sooner, but whenever I saw it in a store it always seemed to look so drab. However, since I’ve decided that I must watch every Woody Allen film ever created by the end of the year, “September” popped up next in my queue, and it turned out to be a very interesting Woody Allen experiment.
I give all the credit in the world to filmmakers who constantly challenge themselves. Even if they fail, I’m more likely to appreciate their work for having made the effort to try. As Hollywood gets older and older, filmmakers have begun to challenge themselves less and less, and it’s truly a sad sight to behold. Because of his middle period of experimentation in the 80’s and early 90’s (not to mention his golden period in the 70’s) I’m much more willing to forgive Allen for sticking to what he knows best in these last stages of his career. “September” is not a fantastic film, but it is a very powerful one. Like most of Allen’s drama’s he finds a unique and original way to take the most mundane arguments between individuals in everyday life and create real drama out of them. Almost all of his more “serious” work reads and performs like a fantastic theatrical play, from the dialogue to the staging. The only times he falters is when he tries to reach for the stars, crafting highly dramatic and tension building melodramatic plot twists that most dramatic films structure their entire stories around. Allen does such a good job making us believe that drama can be found in everyday life that when he tries to inject what we see as “dramatic potency” to his stories, they feel forced and unnecessary. But I believe that this criticism is not to say that he does a poor job at staging these moments, only that he does such a good job with everything else that he doesn’t even need them.
One scene in particular stands out, early on in the film, when Lane’s mother talks to her about getting old. The line “You look in the mirror and try to figure out what is missing… then you realize that it’s your future.” is a truly powerful piece of both acting and writing.
I can’t seem to find a trailer for this film online so in lew of that, here is Part One of a documentary on Ryan Adams with his song “September”. Easily one of my favourite songs ever created. And certainly the saddest and most tragic. (The song plays for the first two minutes, it’s a short song.)