Melinda and Melinda
|Melinda and Melinda|
|Directed by||Woody Allen|
|Produced by||Letty Aronson|
|Written by||Woody Allen|
Jonny Lee Miller
|Music by||Johann Sebastian Bach
|Edited by||Alisa Lepselter|
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Release date(s)||March 18, 2005|
|Running time||100 minutes|
Melinda and Melinda is a 2004 comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. It was premiered at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. The film is set in Manhattan and stars Radha Mitchell as the protagonist Melinda, in two storylines; one comic, one tragic. The film was given a limited release in the United States on March 18, 2005.
The premise of the film is stated by a group of four writers conversing over dinner at the beginning of the film. The question arises: Is life naturally comic or tragic? One of the four proposes a simple story (a distraught woman knocks on a door and disrupts a dinner party) and the two prominent playwrights in the group begin telling their versions of this story, one being comic and one tragic.
Woody Allen said in Conversations with Woody Allen that he wanted to cast Winona Ryder in the title role. He had to replace her with Radha Mitchell because no one would insure Ryder due to her arrest for shoplifting – this would have made it impossible to obtain a film completion bond. Allen stated he was sad because he had written the part for Ryder after working with her on Celebrity. In the same interview, he also claimed to have intended Ferrell's part for Robert Downey, Jr., but, again, insurance got in the way due to Downey's history of arrests and drug abuse.
Radha Mitchell plays Melinda in both versions. Chloë Sevigny, Jonny Lee Miller, and Chiwetel Ejiofor star with her in the tragedy, while Will Ferrell and Amanda Peet star with her in the comedy. Steve Carell has a small part as Ferrell's friend.
The film also stars Wallace Shawn (alluding to his dinner-philosophy argument in My Dinner with Andre) as the comic playwright, Larry Pine as the tragedian, and Brooke Smith as Cassie. All three had appeared in the 1994 film Vanya on 42nd Street, directed by Louis Malle.
The cast includes:
- Radha Mitchell as Melinda
- Chloë Sevigny as Laurel
- Jonny Lee Miller as Lee
- Will Ferrell as Hobie
- Amanda Peet as Susan
- Chiwetel Ejiofor as Ellis
- Wallace Shawn as Sy
- Josh Brolin as Greg
- Vinessa Shaw as Stacey
- Steve Carell as Walt
- Arija Bareikis as Sally
- Matt Servitto as Jack
- Zak Orth as Peter
- Brooke Smith as Cassie
- Daniel Sunjata as Billy
- Larry Pine as Max
- Andy Borowitz as Doug
The film received mostly mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film received 51% positive reviews, based on 144 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 54 out of 100, based on 40 reviews. Leonard Maltin gives the film two stars, calling it "meandering,” with "echoes... of earlier, better Allen movies".
Melinda and Melinda opened on March 18, 2005, in one New York City cinema, where it grossed $74,238 in its first three days, the 21st highest limited release opening in Hollywood history. In weekend two, it expanded to 95 theatres to gross $740,618, seeing its per screen average nosedive to $7,795.
Overseas, it grossed an additional $16,259,545, bringing its worldwide total to $20,085,825.
- "Melinda and Melinda – Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- "Melinda and Melinda (2005): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Maltin, Leonard (2009), p. 898. Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. ISBN 1-101-10660-3. Signet Books. Accessed May 22, 2012
- Official website
- Melinda and Melinda at the Internet Movie Database
- Melinda and Melinda at AllMovie
- Melinda and Melinda at Rotten Tomatoes
- Melinda and Melinda at Metacritic
- Melinda and Melinda at Box Office Mojo
- Woody Allen interview for Melinda And Melinda
- Good Small Films (Unofficial Woodypedia and blog)