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Husbands and Wives
Directed by Woody Allen
Produced by Robert Greenhut
Written by Woody Allen
Starring Woody Allen
Mia Farrow
Sydney Pollack
Liam Neeson
Judy Davis
Juliette Lewis
Cinematography Carlo Di Palma
Editing by Susan E. Morse
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) September 18, 1992
Running time 108 min
Language English

Husbands and Wives is a 1992 American film directed and written by Woody Allen. The films stars Allen, Mia Farrow, Sydney Pollack, Judy Davis, Juliette Lewis, Liam Neeson and Blythe Danner. It was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Judy Davis) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Woody Allen). The movie debuted around the same time as Allen and Farrow's relationship ended because of his relationship with Soon Yi Previn.

Husbands and Wives was Allen's first film as sole director for a studio other than United Artists or Orion Pictures (both now part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), namely TriStar Pictures (though he has acted in films that were released by other studios but were not directed by him).


The film is about two couples: Jack (Pollack) and Sally (Davis), and Gabe (Allen) and Judy (Farrow). Gabe is an English professor at a college, Judy works at a magazine, Jack is a lawyer, and Sally is a co-worker. The film starts when Jack and Sally arrive at Gabe and Judy's apartment and announce their separation. Gabe is shocked, but Judy takes the news personally and is very hurt. Still confused, they go out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant.

Later that night, Judy asks Gabe if he ever fantasizes about other women. Gabe brushes her questions off, and they go to bed. The next day, Gabe approaches Rain, a student of his whose writing he admires. Rain and Gabe go for a walk while discussing her writing.

That night, Sally goes to the apartment of a colleague. They plan to go out together to the opera and then to dinner. Sally asks if she can use his phone, and calls Jack. Learning from him that he has met someone, she accuses him of having had an affair during their marriage.

Shortly after, Gabe, Judy and Sally are out walking when they spot Jack with a blonde woman in her late twenties. Sally hastily departs, dropping her purse and its contents while climbing into a taxi. Judy and Gabe are introduced to Jack's new girlfriend, Sam, an aerobics trainer.

While Judy and Sam shop, Gabe calls Jack's new girlfriend a "cocktail waitress" and tells him that he is crazy for leaving Sally for her. About a week later, Judy introduces Sally to Michael (Neeson), Judy's magazine colleague. Michael asks Sally out.

Later, at a party, Jack is embarrassed when Sam defends astrology to several guests, and they get into a heated debate. Jack drags Sam away and she becomes upset and hysterical. Jack aggressively shoves her into the car. While trying to drive away Jack accidentally hits two cars. Sam gets out and screams, and Jack again shoves her into the car.

Cut to Michael and Sally, who are having sex, then to Sally talking to an analyst. She then discusses her feelings about which people are hedgehogs are which are foxes. Cut back to Michael and Sally who are discussing their sex. She said that they had two nice but separate experiences.

Jack goes to Sally's house, where he finds her with Michael. Jack bursts in and begins arguing with Sally and Michael. She tells Michael to go upstairs. Jack accuses her of sleeping with Michael in "their" bed. Later, Jack tells her that he wants to get back together with her. The doorbell rings and it is Sam, whom Jack has left in the car. After some argument, she demands that Jack and Sam leave.

Meanwhile, Gabe has developed a friendship with Rain and has her read the manuscript for his working novel. She comments on its brilliance, though has several criticisms, to which Gabe reacts defensively due to its autobiographical nature. At dinner, she reaches for his manuscript (his only copy) only to realize she left it in a cab. Then a cab driver finds the manuscript. Rain says that leaving the manuscript was somehow Freudian because she doesn't like competition. He says he doesn't need maturity lessons from a 20-year-old twit. They arrive at the cab driver's house where the driver says that Gabe has a beautiful daughter.

Less than two weeks later, Jack and Sally are back together and the couple meet Judy and Gabe for dinner like old times. After dinner, Judy and Gabe get into an argument about her not sharing her poetry with him, then argue about many things. (This narrative strand was used by Allen’s idol, Ingmar Bergman, in one of his most famous and acclaimed films, Scenes From a Marriage. Allen reverses it, however, as in Bergman’s film, Johan won’t show his poetry to his wife, Marianne, whereas Judy won’t show her poetry to her husband, Gabe.) During a quiet moment Gabe suggests sex. Judy replies, "You always get sexual at the oddest times." He tries to touch her again. Sitting on the couch, she tells him that she thinks the relationship was over; a week later Gabe moves out.

Judy helps Michael get over Sally by spending time with him.

At Rain's twenty-first birthday party hosted by Rain's parents (Blythe Danner stars as her mother), the lights go out because of a storm, and Rain asks for a "birthday kiss." Illuminated by the lightning, Gabe and Rain have a romantic moment, but afterward he tells her he cannot pursue it and leaves.

Michael tells Judy he needs time alone, then says he can't help still having feelings for Sally. Judy becomes frustrated with Michael and walks out into the rain. Highlighting her "passive aggressiveness," Michael follows and begs her to stay with him. A year and a half later they marry.

At the end, we see a pensive Jack and Sally back together envying Judy and Gabe, who are no longer together. Jack and Sally admit their marital problems still exist (her frigidity is not solved), but they find they accept their problems as simply the price they have to pay to remain together.

Gabe is living alone because he says he's out of the race and doesn't want to hurt anyone. He said that he realized how much how he messed up with his relationship with Judy. The film ends with an immediate cut to black after Gabe pleads with the unseen documentary crew, "Can I go? Is this over?"


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