Deconstructing Harry

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"Harry Block has written a best seller … about his best friends … he revealed their deepest secrets … and they’re not pleased … now Harry Block is going to Hell …"
  • R
  • 1998
  • 1 hr 36 min
  • 7.3  (47,418)
  • 61

Deconstructing Harry is a dark comedy film from 1997. The film is written and directed by Woody Allen, who also stars in the lead role. The movie is an introspective look into the life of a writer named Harry Block (Woody Allen), who is struggling with writer's block while trying to reconcile his past relationships and experiences. The film opens with Harry Block, a successful and controversial writer, accepting an invitation to receive an honorary degree from the college he dropped out of. Harry's ex-girlfriend Fay (Elisabeth Shue) accompanies him to the ceremony. However, Harry is unprepared and drunk, and his acceptance speech turns into a vitriolic diatribe against everyone in his life who has ever wronged him.

As a result of this incident, Harry's friends and family begin to shun him. He becomes increasingly desperate and starts writing a semi-autobiographical novel. The novel is a thinly veiled account of Harry's life, and it's rollicking and salacious tale of his many lovers and past experiences.

As Harry writes, he starts to see the characters in his novel come to life, and they start visiting him in the flesh. This surreal and somewhat alarming sequence of events leads Harry to question his own sanity and judgment. The characters from his novel include a prostitute, a ghost, and a married woman with whom Harry has an affair.

Throughout the film, Harry's thoughts are interspersed with scenes from his real life, flashbacks to his college days, and snippets of his conversations with the various characters in his novel. These different threads are woven together in a dizzying and often hilarious montage of events.

The film's central theme is the notion of authorial ownership, particularly when it comes to writing about one's own life. Harry's literary success is seen as a double-edged sword: on the one hand, his confessional writing makes him a sensation, but on the other hand, it leaves him feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Harry's relationships with the women in his life are a major focus of the film. His ex-wife Joan (Kirstie Alley) is furious with him for including their marriage in his novel, while his current girlfriend Lucy (Judy Davis) is hurt by his callous treatment of her. Harry's dalliances with younger women are also explored, most notably with the character of Cookie (Hazelle Goodman), a prostitute he meets on a train.

One of the most interesting aspects of the film is the way it blurs the line between fiction and reality. Harry's novel seems to be based closely on his actual life, but the novel's characters also take on a life of their own. This leads to some truly surreal moments, such as when Harry's fictional stand-in (played by Tobey Maguire) appears in the flesh to confront him.

Overall, Deconstructing Harry is a dark, funny, and deceptively complex film that explores the tangled web of relationships between a writer and the people in his life. Woody Allen delivers a powerful and nuanced performance as Harry, and the film is supported by a talented cast of actors, including Judy Davis, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Elisabeth Shue. The film's themes of truth, ownership, and creativity make it a must-see for fans of Woody Allen's work, and anyone interested in the creative process.

Deconstructing Harry is a 1998 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 36 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 61.

Deconstructing Harry
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 36 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (47,418)
  • Metascore