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'Irrational Man': EW review

Posted on

Sabrina Lantos

Irrational Man

Current Status:
In Season
94 minutes
Wide Release Date:
Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey
Woody Allen
Drama, Mystery

We gave it a C+

Woody Allen has always repeated the same handful of themes in his films, but now even his repetitions are getting repetitious. Allen’s latest film is basically Crimes and Misdemeanors Lite or Cassandra’s Recurring Dream. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Abe Lucas, a burned-out philosophy professor at a small New England college who drinks his lunch out of a flask between lectures on Kant and Kierkegaard. Abe develops a platonic (at first) relationship with one of his more promising students (Emma Stone), giving Allen yet another excuse to recycle another of his thematic tics (the impressionable younger woman fawning over the jaded older genius). An overheard conversation in a diner leads Abe to hatch a murder plot that he believes to be morally justifiable, the excitement of which reawakens his mojo. Allen isn’t completely on autopilot here. There are a couple of sharp, sting-in-the-tail twists near the end, and Phoenix is at least interesting. But Irrational Man would be lesser Woody even if we hadn’t seen most of it before. C+