Review: Rationalising the Irrational Man

Reader Rating1 Votes
The Rational
Incredibly character-driven
Great acting
Dialogue stands out fantastically
Not So Rational
The plot is rather simple
And it deviates a little now and then

Mind-blowing effects, gripping action and insane CGI – oh, I’m just listing down elements that this brilliant film doesn’t need at all. Among the likes of Ant-Man, Jurassic World and Terminator: Genisys, stealing the limelight in cinemas, Irrational Man stands out in a different league of its own. It’s my first Woody Allen film and now I need to clear some space in my schedule to watch more of his works because, honestly, Woody Allen is a genius.

A man of pure passion, Allen, who turns 80 (yes, 80!) this December, stays true to his “one movie a year” policy with the release of Irrational Man this Thursday (23rd July). The film revolves around a depressed philosophy professor, Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) and his student, Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), as Abe attempts to deal with his existential crisis. Things get exciting when he is presented with an opportunity to add meaning to his life.

With a fairly simple plot, the film occasionally deviates from it. Still, apart from a few negligible plot-holes and some unexplained (and arguably unnecessary) plot devices, it does keep the audience engaged through to the very end.

Yet, what really keeps everyone’s eyes glued to the screen are the film’s characters. What I’m trying to say is, in a film starring the gorgeous Emma Stone, Phoenix’s character still captivated me the most. We are made to fall in love with his straightforward and crude nature right from the beginning.

Irrational Man_EmmaEmma Stone is probably glad to have been cast in this film after the horror that was Aloha. Well, at least she is American this time. Stone capably portrays Jill, the inquisitive and bright young student who catches Abe’s attention with her work.

Labeled as a mystery-drama by most websites, I feel they forgot to include a very big component in the classification: comedy. The writing is phenomenal with almost no on the nose or expositional dialogue. With witty lines and occasional dark humor, Irrational Man could possibly be described as a laugh riot. I found myself in fits of laughter at countless points of the film I had initially expected to be a serious one. Not an unpleasant surprise, I’d say.

Though people already familiar with Allen’s previous works would probably say that Irrational Man falls short of his standards set by Annie Hall (1977) and Midnight in Paris (2011), the film is still of exceptional standing on its own. Though it seems to be intended for a niche audience, Woody Allen still manages to entertain fans and regular filmgoers alike with this film.

Irrational Man is now out in theatres and watching it is just the rational thing to do.