Stardust Memories

Review No. 444

It’s just “Stardust”, if we’re being realistic and truthful.


Directed by: Woody Allen
Written by: Woody Allen
Sandy Bates: Woody Allen
Dorrie: Charlotte Rampling
Daisy: Jessica Harper
Isobel: Marie-Christine Barrault
Also Starring: Amy Wright, Bob Maroff, Gabrielle Strasun, Helen Hanft, John Rothman, Tony Roberts

Distributed by United Artists on September 26, 1980. Produced in English by the United States. Runs 91 mins. Rated PG by the MPAA–mature themes, language.

Stardust Memories was watched on March 4, 2013.

“I’m a psychoanalyst. This is my pipe.” –Sandy Bates (Woody Allen)

It’s been a while. Woody Allen is one of few directors who has consistently infused his films with his own sarcastic, pessimistic spirit. Ever since he debuted in the late 1960s (and only to a greater extent during and following fifteen years of psychoanalysis), the auteur has been ethereally glamorizing the architecture of cities, while ripping apart its people. His writing alone is ingenious, but we can be even more grateful that he has appeared in 80% of his films, taking the wry, politically incorrect humor to an entirely new level.

Stardust Memories isn’t Woody’s best drama, mainly due to the gratuitous starlight he gives himself. His role is as a narcissistic filmmaker, so you could say this is appropriate, but just about every separate character is artlessly one-note. All we really see is mucho exaggeration, and for that matter, the film could better fare as a stand-up comedy. Given that Allen is the god of the one-liner, and that he delivers three distinct quotes for the ages in this one 90-minute feature, it’d work out much more evenly.

Stardust Memories is a small-scale version of Annie Hall. It’s a delight more often than not, but only for the time being; that it feels like it was written in a week’s time should say that it doesn’t exactly feel as lifelike as Woody’s other writings. In a nutshell, a word like “memories” can be deceiving if placed in a film’s title.

“People tell me I’m narcissistic but I disagree; if I were to identify with a figure from greek mythology it wouldn’t be Narcissus, it would be Zeus.” –Sandy Bates (Woody Allen)



Gone Baby Gone