Hannah and Her Sisters

Template:Infobox Movie Hannah and Her Sisters is a 1986 romantic comedy film which tells the story of an extended family, all of whose demons begin to erupt during a family Thanksgiving dinner. The movie was written and directed by Woody Allen and stars Mia Farrow as Hannah, with Barbara Hershey and Dianne Wiest as her sisters.

The film's ensemble cast also includes Allen, Michael Caine, Carrie Fisher, Maureen O'Sullivan, Lloyd Nolan, Max von Sydow, and Julie Kavner. Daniel Stern, Joanna Gleason, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus all have minor roles, as do Tony Roberts and Sam Waterston, whose appearances are uncredited. Several of Farrow's children, including Soon-Yi Previn, have credited and uncredited roles, mostly as Thanksgiving extras.

Critical recognition

Hannah and Her Sisters was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Allen's writing was recognized with an Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and he earned a nomination for Best Director. His work on the film was also recognized with two BAFTA Awards.

Caine and Wiest each won Oscars, for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The film was also Oscar-nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, and Best Film Editing.

It was a nominee for a CÚsar Award for Best Foreign Film.

Influential critics Siskel & Ebert each rated the film among the top three of the 1986 film year; Ebert's 1986 review of the film began with "Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters [is] the best movie he has ever made."


The story is told in three main arcs, with almost all of it occuring during a twelve-month period beginning and ending at a Thanksgiving party hosted by Hannah (played by Farrow) and her husband Elliot (played by Caine). Hannah serves as the stalwart hub of the story; her own story as a successful actress is somewhat secondary but most of the events of the film connect to her.

An adulterous romance between Elliot and Hershey's character (Lee) provides the main romantic entanglement of the film. Elliot's discontent with his wife's emotional strength and self-sufficiency causes him to look elsewhere. Lee, one of Hannah's sisters, has lived for several years with von Sydow's character (a reclusive artist, Frederick). She finds herself in a relationship that is neither romantic nor intellectually stimulating, the latter in spite of Frederick's professed interest in continuing to teach her about life. She leaves Frederick, much to his sorrow (for he has grown dependent upon her), and has an affair with Elliot lasting for several months.

Mickey (played by Allen in the neurotic role easily recognized by his fans) provides the comic relief. Part of his story are scenes from his previous marriage to Hannah and his horrible date with the cocaine-addicted Holly (Hannah's other sister, played by Wiest), shown in flashbacks. Mickey's main story is one of hypochondria confronted with a possible serious disease. It turns into a career-pausing existential crisis, which leads to unsatisfying experiments with religious conversion, before a long walk and the fortuitous viewing of Duck Soup helps him understand why life is worth living. The revelation helps prepare him for a second date with Holly, which this time blossoms quickly (and mostly off-screen) into a relationship and marriage.

Holly's story is the film's third main arc. She's an unsuccessful actress, who dabbles in a catering business, competing with April (her business partner and fellow actress, played by Fisher) for acting parts and a man. Holly loses both, and decides to try her hand at writing. The career change forces her to once again borrow money from Hannah, a dependency that Hannah welcomes and Holly resents. After writing a script inspired by Hannah and Elliot (a story that Holly sets aside after Hannah objects to just how much of the couple's private life Holly had incorporated in it), she writes a story inspired by April, which Mickey reads and admires greatly, vowing to help her get it produced.

A minor arc in the film tells part of the story of Norma and Evan (played by O'Sullivan and Nolan, who were both in Never Too Late twenty years earlier). They are Hannah's parents who still have acting careers of their own, careers disrupted at times by Norma's alcoholism. Evan's piano playing provides part of the entertainment during the Thanksgiving get-togethers.

By the time of the film's second Thanksgiving Lee has ended her affair with Elliot. In a final coda-like act, another year has lapsed, and the film ends happily for the three sisters, now all married.

External links

de:Hannah und ihre Schwestern es:Hannah y sus hermanas


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