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WONDER WHEEL

SYNOPSIS: Ginny (Kate Winslet), an emotionally volatile former actress now works as a waitress and is locked into a loveless marriage to Humpty (Jim Belushi), a rough carousel operator on Cone Island in the 1950s. Things change when Ginny meets Mickey (Justin Timberlake), a handsome young lifeguard and Humpty's estranged daughter Carolina (Juno Temple) arrives, hiding from gangsters.

Review by Louise Keller:
Despite superb production elements and a gritty performance by Kate Winslet in a role that offers complexity, this angst ridden kitchen sink drama is not one of Woody Allen's best works. That's not to say it does not have its moments and Allen has crafted each of his troubled characters with considered care. However the story never feels fresh and we become bogged down in its hopeless reality that lacks possibilities, rather than be inspired. It is devoid of wonder.

But there are good points. The film looks ravishing and Vittorio Storaro's cinematography simply glows. There's a feeling of nostalgia. A sense that a flame is flickering, even if thought it never ignites. Perhaps that's why the inclusion of a pyromaniac child in the mix of characters is ironic and so effective.

We become sucked into the Coney Island reality in the 50s, when survival is a daily grind and the echoes of the past are dead weights to the future. The mood is intense and claustrophobic: there is a constant feeling that there is no way out - for anyone.

Allen's tale, with its Amusement Park setting and central Ferris wheel relies on its characters to turn. Kate Winslet's Ginny doesn't want trouble. She knows what love is - and is not. The scenes with Jim Belushi's good hearted Humpty that describe their relationship, leave no doubt. Ginny relies on fantasies of her past as a would-be actress to see her through her everyday. The story's perspective is that of Mickey Rubin (Justin Timberlake, the film's weakest link), a handsome lifeguard who has an affair with Ginny before spying Humpty's estranged daughter Carolina (Juno Temple, lovely). He tells her she is 'beautiful in the rainlight'. Nice line. He observes that she been around the world but she (as the ex-wife of a gangster) has been around the block.

The script is peppered with such Allen quotes. I like: 'her heart has its own hieroglyphics' but it often feels contrived - like words on the page. Nothing takes away from Winslet's performance however, which sears to the core of our emotions.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

WONDER WHEEL (PG)
(US, 2017)

CAST: Kate Winslet, Justin Timbrlake, Juno Temple, Jim Belushi

PRODUCER: Erika Aronson, Letty Aronson, Edward Walson

DIRECTOR: Woody Allen

SCRIPT: Woody Allen

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Vittorio Storaro

EDITOR: Alisa Lepselter

MUSIC: Not credited

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Santo Loquasto

RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: EOne Entertainment

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 8, 2017







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