All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it. -Harry Block, “Deconstructing Harry”
Harry Block: Tradition is the illusion of permanence.
Doris: You have no values. Your whole life, it’s nihilism, it’s cynicism, it’s sarcasm and your orgasm.
Harry Block: You know, in France, I could run on that slogan and win.
One of the best parts of my childhood and one of the greatest gifts my mother gave me was an introduction to Woody Allen’s films. Despite his failings-honestly, his personal behavior is so disgusting that I avoid discussing my love for his films lest I get locked into a conversation on separating an artist’s work from their personal life- his work has brought me a lot of joy and been a kind of teacher to me over the course of my life, so the slow reveal of his personal depravity has been an ongoing source of disappointment and horror.
“Deconstructing Harry” is the story of a neurotic writer who admits that he can’t function in life- but he CAN function in art. You quickly learn that everyone in his life hates him, with the exception of his son, Hilly. He’s gone through multiple wives and therapists is addicted to alcohol and pills, and can’t even manage to go to an award ceremony at his former college without kidnapping his son, witnessing the death of his friend, and bringing a prostitute along for company. The film switches between scenes from his stories and novels, and back to his real life – until characters from his stories start to slip into his life to psychoanalyze him.
The film switches between scenes from his stories and novels, and back to his real life – until characters from his stories start to slip into his life to psychoanalyze him. I don’t want to give away the entire plot or spoil the film in some other way, but…if you’re only going to watch one Woody Allen movie, let it be this one.