Irrational Man: Film Review


I hoped Irrational Man would restore my faith in Woody Allen, but this is just another one that fails to impress. I thought following the failure of Magic in the Moonlight, he could only do better but this is just as messy and unsatisfying and a total waste of Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone’s talents.

Phoenix is Abe, a drunk, depressed philosophy teacher at Braylin College who doesn’t see much point in life. He strikes up a friendship with his student Jill (Stone) and embarks on an affair with fellow teacher Rita (Parker Posey) and finally finds the will to live when he irrationally thinks murder is a good idea.


The murder twist is a surprise but also one which confuses the entire film. What is it trying to be? Romantic comedy or drama? It isn’t serious enough for a drama or funny enough for comedy. It is a mess – it is about their age gap relationship or the murder?

This film feels like Allen had a great idea but had trouble sustaining it to feature film length. It is only 95 minutes but it felt so long and slow. I struggled to keep my eyes open. It is not completely terrible – there are some genuinely brilliant scenes, like a Russian Roulette sequence and the last 10 minutes (which was genius) but there are just so many dull ones in between and discussions on philosophy are not my thing.


I also didn’t feel that Jill was in love with Abe, or how she could be attracted to him. The chemistry simply wasn’t there. I think both leads did what they could with the material but there just wasn’t enough to work on. Another disappointing offering from Allen. Shame!

In cinemas on 11th September 

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