WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
College sweethearts Gatsby and Ashleigh’s plans for a romantic weekend together in New York City are dashed as quickly as the sunlight turns into showers. The two are soon parted, and each has a series of chance meetings and comical adventures while on their own.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
A Rainy Day in New York has quite a turbulent journey to finally seeing the big-screen. Initially set to have been distributed by Amazon in 2018, they shelved the movie during the height of the Me Too movement that swept through Hollywood and the US - and we all know Woody Allen’s murky past was bound to rear its ugly head.
Most of the cast ended up donating their salaries from the movie to organisations associated with the movement, with some saying they regret starring in it. This has been another nail in his unseemly career. However, unfortunately, the leech still persists, having sued Amazon over dropping his film and got away with the rights to distribute himself.
So finally A Rainy Day in New York has wormed its way into our cinemas, and it’s pretty much just like any other Woody Allen film where a neurotic script tries to pass itself off as an enlightened take on the ‘real’ world.
Two rich, white college kids take the weekend to stay in New York (in a stupidly expensive hotel as college students do) - Ashleigh (Elle Fanning) just has to do one interview for a school paper on a morbid director (Liev Schreiber) before exploring the city’s nooks with her aimless gambler boyfriend (Timothée Chalamet) - but as you can guess the city had other plans.
Woody Allen’s movies always want to pretend to be a hot take on the daily existential crisis that society enfolds itself in, but it’s always rich people with no inkling or connection to the real world. Unless you fall into the 1% life, a normal person would see his characters as pompous assholes that don’t deserve their life of luxury. Even the jocks are tinged by an overzealous urge to project Woody Allen’s overbearing personality that oozes through every film he makes.
But what irked me most in the film, and which understandably could have contributed to Amazon pulling it, was the kind of gross interactions between Ashleigh - a bright-eyed 21-year-old - and three much-older men that try to woo her for no real reason other than that she’s young and pretty. While she does have a particular agency and isn’t completely powerless, there’s still a whole scene of her getting drunk, going on some profound fake ramble about losing her inhibitions and finally ends up in the rain in just her underwear.
Compare it to Chalamet’s journey in the city, who stumbles upon the younger sister of his ex-girlfriend, spends time in museums, begrudgingly visits his mother’s party with a hooker and drowns himself in self-loathing - and you see why the movie industry was in such a desperate need for an identity shift.
If A Rainy Day in New York had a face, it’s probably the kind you’d want to punch, its pretentiousness just too daunting to ignore for a long while watching. As always you can’t fault the stellar cast - it all boils down to a weird man spewing his unfiltered thoughts into the world thinking that people want to pay money to see his cringy love letter to the Big Apple on a day anyone else would hate.