Hollywood Ending

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Hollywood Ending
Hollywood ending.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Woody Allen
Produced by Letty Aronson
Written by Woody Allen
Starring Woody Allen
George Hamilton
Téa Leoni
Debra Messing
Mark Rydell
Treat Williams
Tiffani Thiessen
Music by David Arnold
Cinematography Wedigo von Schultzendorff
Edited by Alisa Lepselter
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures
Release date
  • May 3, 2002 (2002-05-03)
Running time
112 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $16 million[1]
Box office $14,839,383[1]

Hollywood Ending is a 2002 American comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen, who also plays the principal character. It tells the story of a once-famous film director who suffers hysterical blindness due to the intense pressure of directing.


Val Waxman is a once-prestigious film director lately reduced to making cheesy television commercials in order to pay his bills and support his current live-in girlfriend, Lori. When he is thrown off his latest effort (a deodorant commercial being filmed in the frozen north of Canada), he desperately seeks a real movie project.

Out of the blue, Val receives an offer to direct a big-budget blockbuster movie to be set in New York City. However, the offer comes from his former wife, Ellie, and her boyfriend, Hal, the studio head who stole her from Val years ago.

Pushed by his agent Al Hack, Val reluctantly agrees to the project, but a psychosomatic ailment strikes him blind just before production is to begin. With Al's encouragement and aid, Val keeps his blindness a secret from the cast & crew (and Hal). The movie plays out with an aging director struggling to regain his vision, both literally and metaphorically. During filming, Val rekindles his relationship with Ellie, loses Lori and reconnects with his estranged son, Tony. When Val regains what had been missing his life, he regains his sight as well.

In the end, Val's project costs $60 million—and flops. Nevertheless, Val enjoys a "Hollywood ending" of his own—his movie is a hit in France, and he is invited to direct his next movie there. After winning Ellie back, he happily proclaims, "Thank God the French exist."


Production notes[edit]

Haskell Wexler was the original cinematographer, but was fired by Woody Allen after a week of filming as they couldn't agree on how to film certain shots. Wedigo von Schultzendorff replaced Wexler.[3]


The film received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film received 47% positive reviews, based on 130 reviews.[4] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 46 out of 100, based on 37 reviews.[5]

The film was a failure in American theaters, with ticket sales under $5 million[1][2] with a worldwide gross of only $14.8 million.[1]

It was screened out of competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.[6]

In the United Kingdom, it was the first of Allen's films not to receive a theatrical release.[citation needed]

Film critic Bryant Frazer thought that it suffered from poor editing. He wrote, "What's most frustrating is the sense that Hollywood Ending could have been quite a bit better than it actually is. At 114 minutes, it's decisively lacking in the brevity that used to characterize Allen's pictures—even the super-serious, Bergman-inspired stuff. Worse, his timing seems to be off—the filmmaker who was once notorious for cutting his films to the absolute bone now gives us rambling, overlong shots featuring performers who almost seem to be ad libbing their dialogue. I ran to the Internet Movie Database to investigate, and discovered what may be the problem—Susan Morse is gone. Morse, the editor who had worked with Allen since Manhattan in 1979 and who turned into a real soldier by the time of the jazzy montage that characterized Deconstructing Harry, was reportedly a victim of budget-cutting within the ranks."[7]

In 2016, film critics Robbie Collin and Tim Robey ranked Hollywood Ending as the worst movie by Woody Allen.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e Hollywood Ending at The Numbers
  2. ^ a b Hollywood Ending at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ "Woody's Hollywood Echoes Real Life". Fox News. April 28, 2002. 
  4. ^ Hollywood Ending at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ Hollywood Ending at Metacritic
  6. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Hollywood Ending". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-11-04. 
  7. ^ Frazer, Bryant. "Hollywood Ending". Deep Focus. 
  8. ^ "All 47 Woody Allen movies - ranked from worst to best". The Telegraph. October 12, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 

External links[edit]