Movie Review #826: ‘Everyone Says I Love You’…I lurve you, I loave you, I luff you. I love the movie.
By Alexander Diminiano
|Comedy, Musical, Romance|
|Rated R (contains suggestive dialogue, mild sexual content, strong language)|
“Everyone Says I Love You” pays a spunky homage to old time musicals and ends up becoming one of its own. This is a movie from 1996 that takes us back to the music of more than six decades before. The film opens with Edward Norton singing the jazz standard “Just Me, Just You” to his girlfriend. Before we know it, the whole borough of Manhattan is singing along.
After this number, we are introduced to a narrator: Natasha Lyonne, who provides a bubbly, melodramatic voice for the story. This was the first in a new wave of Woody Allen movies to take place not only in New York City, but also in other dream cities abroad, such as Venice and Paris. We switch between the three cities numerous times, but Lyonne’s narration seems to let then act as one, single, majestic city.
The movie gives us characters that can sing, but not professionally. They’re not Broadway stars. They’re seemingly everyday people, much like you and me. They break into sing when they feel happy, and the music isn’t built up before they start singing. You know how often times we’ll just sing a few lines of a certain song if we feel it fits the occasion? These show tunes start as asides like that for these characters. Then they continue the song, and all of a sudden it’s like we’re in the middle of their daydream: everyone around them is singing, having a ball, dancing a musical number as best they can without actually knowing how to properly dance.
The difference between this and any Tony Award-winner is that “Everyone Says I Love You” feels a whole lot more natural. As with the singing, these dancers are not professional dancers or even recreational dancers. They’re just having a good time, and in effect, so are we.
The dance numbers are hilariously choreographed and feature dazzling set design, but when it all comes down to it, the brightest door of the movie is no different than in many other Allen movies: it’s the characters. Allen pokes fun at his own political views in this movie, with the depiction of Lukas Haas as a Conservative Republican whose views seem, in fact, more logical than the Liberal Democratic views of either of his parents. The biggest laugh comes at the hospital in the third act of the movie. Haas has collapsed of a blood clot that has deprived his brain of oxygen, and the doctor explains that any “strange behavior” in the last year would prove to be the result of this. Of course, Haas abandons his right-wing views as soon as he recovers.
Tim Roth performs a great caricature of an ex-convict in this movie. He’s rather creepy as this character. It’s a bit awkward watching Drew Barrymore fall in love with him, but only laughs are provided when she tells her parents of this. She wants to cancel her plans for marrying Holden (Edward Norton), because she wants to see where a relationship with the ex-con takes her. Her parents, however, despise the ex-con and see her as having no future with him.
The most upstanding spectacle, though, might be Julia Roberts. Clearly, this is not her typical cheesy ’90s romcom. Her chemistry with Allen is believable and enjoyable. The two of them provide the sweetest, most candid vignette of the entire film. And, ultimately, the most tragic.
Around the midpoint of the film, I witnessed Alan Alda singing Cole Porter’s “Looking at You”. I was convinced this was the most enchanting moment of the film. It wasn’t. What better eat to top that than in the finale? We watch Goldie Hawn and Woody Allen chat awhile, and the mood is enhanced by the astonishing Parisian background. Then, Hawn starts to sing. This becomes the most beautiful scene in the whole film. Ironically, her performance of “I’m Through with Love” marks the height of the film as a romance. It’s the most magical scene in the entire movie, which itself is a thoroughly magical delight.