The movie opens on a summer day on Coney Island.

Fun is fair, fair is fun

(Foul is fair, fair is foul)

The image of the wheel—seen in the opening shot and at the end, and suggested throughout—casts a shadow over the sandy beach.

The wheel of life is turning, mistakes are repeated, patterns come and go. Recur.

The tragic side of the human condition beyond the fun dimension of Coney Island

The sense of unraveling

Resilience and endurance.

With a bit of cynicism, perhaps.


Mickey’s gift to Ginny: A play by Eugene O’Neill

Some dirge is heard, as in Long Day’s Journey into Night.

And in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Woody Allen returns to the world of theatre

And conjures up the character of Blanche Dubois previously explored in Blue Jasmine.

Beyond the kaleisdoscopic glitter of intertextual references

The movie is structured and filmed like a play

Witty and quick dialogue

A sense of entrapment

A series of tableaux

A narrator who is both a voice over and a protagonist

The voice over feeling like an artificial intrusion

Like soliloquies at the theatre.

Characters storm in and out of rooms that feel like a set on a stage— “circumstances” that the actors have to inhabit, following the lead of the Method. Prop-like objects come and go

Lines are uttered

The protagonists become larger than the filmic script

“High galaxies over a fear of falling” in Arthur Miller’s image.


Yearnings and longings

Aspirations and dreams

Women trapped in bad marriages

Carolina and her violent gangster husband

Ginny and her alcoholic husband Humpty

The son Richie setting things on fire

Addicted to a sense of danger and collapse

Blanche’s scream “fire, fire” can be heard very distinctly now

A symptom of the paroxysm of feelings and emotions

Human life on the edge.

Some intuition of the violence done to women: Humpty threatening and tender, tender and threatening, in another move of the wheel turning.

The wheel bringing back Carolina’s past

Snatching her and lifting her out of sight


Women and love

The watch as the pathetic excess of unrequited infatuation,

The lavish expenditure of passion—felt and lost.

The wheel keeps turning, life goes on:

Stanley Kowalski resumes his poker game

Humpty will go fishing


Ginny’s common points with Mary Tyrone and Blanche Dubois:

A Janus-faced personality: beautiful and loving, bitter and cynical

A first love, the quest to retrieve that happiness, an inability to heal

Aloofness and withdrawal

Longing for a past that can no longer be

Lies and conceits

Memories and nostalgia


Performing and imagining: escaping

Mary and her wedding-dress

Blanche and her “mardi-gras outfit”

All three haunted by aging and the passing of time.



The fun party-like atmosphere of Coney Island and the Ferris wheel:

The wonder that carnival and circus bring to our existence.

The glitter and shine.

The gilded space of the American dream

Lifting you up, bringing you high

Until the (inevitable) turn of the wheel brings you right down.


Inner dreams and longings beyond food and domesticity

The woman under the work outfit.

A momentary escape

The upcoming storm

A lifeguard that offers no protection

In the end.

A beach and footprints erased by unavoidable waves

Human happiness: fleeting and temporary,

The fragile and vulnerable dimension of any human endeavor.


Marie Lienard-Yeterian