Melinda and Melinda Movie Poster Image

Melinda and Melinda



Great premise, but talky dramedy doesn't deliver.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Attempted suicides.


Sexual references, including adultery.


Some strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, smoking, abuse of prescription drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has some strong language, explicit sexual references, drinking, smoking, drug abuse, and references to murder and suicide.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

Four friends in a deli debate whether life is comedy or tragedy. One of them describes a moment: at a dinner party, the hosts are trying to impress a guest and a distressed young woman arrives unexpectedly. One of the writers at the table (Wallace Shawn) says that is the perfect opening for a romantic comedy. Another (Larry Pine) says it is the beginning of a tragedy. As each tells the story his way, viewers see it unfolding. There are many parallels between the two versions, with the unexpected guest a woman named Melinda (Radha Mitchell) in both stories.

Is it any good?


Woody Allen's MELINDA AND MELINDA has a great premise. But while it is surer and more intriguing than the airid Anything Else and Hollywood Ending, it still fails to give us characters who connect in authentic or interesting ways to each other and therefore they never connect to us. As we go back and forth between the two versions of the story, it is often hard to tell them apart even though they have different characters, tones, soundtracks, and directions. That may be important for making Allen's point, which is fine -- that's a good point -- but it is a problem when it comes to the success of the movie. Comic or tragic, a story should be involving and neither one of these stories is.

Allen has addressed the same themes with more insight and wit many times. He has made themes like the fear of death, infidelity, and the longing for love comic and tragic in different movies and sometimes in the same movie. He made the same point he never quite gets to here in fifteen brilliant seconds in Stardust Memories when the supersmart alien tells the, um, alienated comedian who wants to address the tragedies of life, "You want to do mankind a real service? Tell funnier jokes." That's still good advice, especially if you're making a movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the differences and similarities between comedy and tragedy. In another Woody Allen movie, a character says that comedy is "tragedy plus time." What does that mean?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 18, 2005
DVD/Streaming release date:October 25, 2005
Cast:Amanda Peet, Chloe Sevigny, Will Ferrell
Director:Woody Allen
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:adult situations involving sexuality, and some substance material

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written bydavidrox January 22, 2013

Nice, but think of your child

This movie is a very good movie, however, it contains some sexual references. lots of innuendo. i think young kids might not get some of the jokes. but if you're kids are mature and over ten they might be able to enjoy it. i suggest 11 and up can see this.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 13 year old Written bycolten97 October 10, 2012

Woody in full shape

A bunch of guys are discussing philosophy in a bar. Two writers with opposed views on life argue about it: is life tragic or comic? To illustrate their theories, they imagine a story of a woman. The comic writer presents the optimistic, bright tale of Melinda, who just accepts life as it goes by. The tragic writer gives us a destructive, lonesome and troubled Melinda, who deals with depression and suicide. Around the two Melindas we can find a variety of interesting characters: a sincere and kind of shy actor and his ambitious wife in the comic tale; an intellectual woman and the gentle pianistshe falls in love with. Woody's recent efforts weren't much impressive, so everyone was a bit skeptical about his next film. Skeptical because it wasn't a proper comedy and because Woody didn't appear in it. Well, after having seen it, I must say this is the best film the man has directed in the last ten years or so. Not only it is wittier, but more transcendental as well. It feels more personal, and its message is clearer and warmer. Woody teaches us a lesson. Let's not get too excited, though. The film itself is not breathtakingly impressive, but it truly delivers, and is overall rewarding. It features plenty of allenisms and classic Woody situations. Precisely one of the correct complaints about the movie is the feeling of déja vu. The film's premise is original and very well executed, but the setting and characters all seem a bit familiar. Nothing wrong with that, though. There's plenty of characters and they're all very well crafted by the director: the protagonist, Melinda, is both believable in its two sides. Radha Mitchell is excellent in both parts, switching from comedy to drama smoothly. Will Ferrell is great, and I mean great, portraying the allenistic neurotic - he doesn't merely imitate Woody. Ejiofor and Sevigny are also very adequate in their roles. Overall, none of the characters seems forced; they're all believable and honest. I'd like to comment on the cinematography by veteran Vilmos Zsigmond in his first collaboration with Allen: the photography is by no means revolutionary, but the way the shots were composed was always interesting. Woody's direction is masterful as always. I'm fascinated at how he alternates and mixes both stories. The pace and editing are mostly effective, as is the usual jazzy score. The dialogues presented are human and dynamic. This is a throughoutly enjoyable, pleasant exercise on love, infidelity, marriage, life, and so on, which while not being specially mesmerizing nor powerful, is sure enlightening: life is short. We shouldn't see it in a pessimistic way, because that doesn't lead anywhere, nor in an exaggeratedly optimistic way. We just got to accept it and enjoy it, because it can end... like that.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking