You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Movie Poster Image
Woody Allen revisits familiar themes in mature comedy.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

Not yet rated

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

The movie makes the point that life is filled with random swerves -- which we can either manage and embrace on our own, or we can turn to fortune-tellers, mentors, or other “gurus” for enlightenment (or at least company). Ultimately, we are the masters and mistresses of our own triumphs and disasters.

Positive role models & representations

Although the film is peopled by insensitive, self-absorbed types of the kind you often see in Woody Allen movies, few of them appear to mean anyone else any outright harm (except for the character who cheats on her spouse and thinks it means nothing and the fake fortune teller who spins predictions for money). Also, a wife can't mask her dissatisfaction with her marriage; a woman is inconsiderate toward her son-in-law; a husband, afraid of growing old, leaves his wife for a younger woman; and a man takes advantage of a situation that he thinks will hurt no one and benefit him.

Violence

Some yelling and screaming among family members. A character breaks into an apartment.

Sex

A man massages a married woman’s leg and is later seen making out with her. Characters are glimpsed undressing down to their underwear through an open window. A woman parades around in front of her husband in a negligee. Couples kiss.

Language

Words include “damn,” “goddamn,” “bloody," “ass,” “hell,” and (infrequently) f--k.”

Consumerism

One shot of the label for Viagra and another of Corona. Some store shopping brands seen. A man wears Ralph Lauren-logoed sweaters.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

A woman often asks others for something to drink while she’s visiting, usually sherry or whiskey. Later, her daughter calls her out on her fondness for liquor. A couple drinks beer while lounging on a picnic blanket at the park.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this mature comedy revisits complex themes that director Woody Allen often explores in his movies, including marriage, infidelity, and career ennui. There’s frank talk about marital dissatisfaction and plenty of grass-is-greener yearning. Most of it will likely go over the head of tweens and younger teens (not that they're likely to be interested), though older ones inclined to philosophizing may find it interesting. Expect some swearing (including "f--k") and drinking and images of women in their underwear.

User Reviews

Adult Written byboredomhurts1 February 23, 2011
Looks like a pretty good movie. I might not pay for it though, i will just get it of this cool website. rewards1.com/1799913
Parent of a 13 year old Written bycolten97 October 11, 2012

Fun charming movie

Excellent, charming movie that tracks the ups and downs of middle aged and older couples. It is not going for huge explosions or plot twists, so if that is what...

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What's the story?

Londoner Helena (Gemma Jones) is beside herself: Her husband, Alfie (Anthony Hopkins), has undergone a late-life crisis and left her, devoting himself to a physical makeover and his new, much younger, wife, Charmaine (Lucy Punch). But for Helena, the wisdom of her fortune-teller (Pauline Collins) is what makes sense. Meanwhile, their daughter, Sally (Naomi Watts), is distracted by her new boss (Antonio Banderas) and can no longer hide her deep disappointment with her husband, Roy (Josh Brolin), an almost-doctor who had a semi-successful first novel but has been unable to conjure a decent follow-up. He worries that the most recent book he submitted won’t make the cut and is distracted by the pretty musicologist (Freida Pinto) whom he glimpses from his bedroom window.

Is it any good?

In many ways, YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER finds filmmaker Woody Allen in fine form. The dialogue is strong, the editing is crisp, the pacing natural. And the acting’s superb (especially the believably unraveling Watts). Still, what’s missing here -- and what’s been missing in Allen’s recent work, except for the delightful Vicky Cristina Barcelona -- is a sense that it’s trying to lure you into a conversation, one you preferably haven’t had numerous times.

Ultimately, for all its wonderful qualities, You Will Meet a Talk Dark Stranger feels just like that: a Woody Allen retread, like something out of his good old New York days but with a British accent and laced with annoyance at a world mired in the same questions ... and offering no new answers. The staving off of death by making foolish choices, the impatience with a life less luxe, the ambivalence over commitment -- they’re all here. Perhaps it’s true that life isn’t all that different, no matter what time period we live in -- the Hannah and Her Sisters 1980s or the Tall Dark Stranger 2010s -- or what complexities arise. Why bother then?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the movie is saying about marriage. Do the relationships in the movie seem realistic? What happens when they don't work out?

  • How does this movie compare to Allen's other films?

Movie details

For kids who love quirky movies

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