Parents' Guide to

The Other Side of the Wind

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Welles' chaotic final film has lots of drinking, some sex.

Movie R 2018 122 minutes
The Other Side of the Wind Poster Image

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Orson Welles' final film defies categorization. Uncompleted in his lifetime, The Other Side of the Wind is, by turns, a dark satire of Hollywood and "Hollywood types," a parody of the arthouse cinema of the early 1970s (Antonioni in particular), a bitter meditation on aging, barely-veiled autobiography, and a tragicomic skewering of the macho-masculine personas who seems to want to cling to their youth and virility at all costs. A "documentary" told through rapid-fire acid-tongued dialogue like a 1970s Algonquin Roundtable done up in suede-denim, these bon mots are paired with frenzied split-second edits. The style might be too much for viewers not ready for Orson Welles' dalliance with psychedelia. However, for those willing to get into the spirit of the thing, the rewards are many.

John Huston, as the Hemingway-esque iconic director Jake Hannaford, is magnificent as a flawed genius who seems to be having as much fun poking fun at the myth of his outsized persona as the partygoers who are so in awe of him even as they question his current relevance. Peter Bagdonovich is a good sport and a true friend to play such an obvious self-parody. Susan Strasberg does a mean Pauline Kael. You can guess Dennis Hoppers' state of mind in his cameo. Ironically enough, Rich Little seems to be the only one who isn't engaged in an overt imitation of himself or anyone else. Again, this isn't for everybody, and definitely not the best introduction to the Orson Welles filmography, but it's much better than the film buff curio it might have ended up with less capable editors.

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