Review: Side Effects

book reviews

Side Effects
Side Effects by Woody Allen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Woody Allen is fucking brilliant. He is a sensitive subject, though. Which makes no sense to me at all. I remember one day telling my old boss of my fondness for the man’s work and receiving a disgusted look in return, as if I had professed to buying used underpants off of the Internet. She told me she would never watch the man’s movies after what he did.

“What did he do?” I asked, eyes as wide as a newborn doe.

“He married his daughter,” she said before she stalked away.

I was perplexed. Initially, I thought she was full of shit. But, seeing as we’re trapped in an age of information, I took to the web to investigate these allegations. I Googled Mr. Allen (please remember that this was a few years ago when Google still yielded results and not tweets or Facebook posts about an old classmate’s obsession with Star Wars action figures and funny pictures of cats) and learned that, yes, he did marry someone who he acted in something of a fatherly capacity toward.

This was a most interesting development. I was unmoved, but perplexed. I mean, she wasn’t really his daughter, merely the adopted daughter of his wife. Wikipedia tells me Woody Allen and Mia Farrow began their relationship in 1980 and it lasted until 1992. My math tells me that’s twelve years. Allen started his relationship with his present wife in 1991, which, if my math hasn’t failed me, means that Soon-Yi was ten-years-old when Allen entered her life.

Now, that’s certainly interesting, but is it really so unexpected. I mean, did anyone read Side Effects? Because last night, I read about a fictional relationship (that Allen inserted himself as a character into) which revolved around being in love with a woman and her mother simultaneously. If anything, Allen’s real-life romance was just a manifestation of his subconscious (or perhaps even conscious) desires.

And is that not kind of cool? Provided you can get past the implied-incest squeamishness, of course. It simply means the man is genuine. It means that Alvie Singer is real. It means Gabriel Roth is real. It means Fielding Mellish is real.

Shit, it may even mean that we’re all just characters in Woody Allen’s imagination. So before you get all judgemental, consider the fact that he may have you fall in love with your brother. Or your sister. Or your Aunt Rivka (in a certain light).

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