A Rainy Day in New York

SCREENING COMPANION

A Rainy Day in New York
2019

-A Rainy Day in New York’s delayed release has stretched so far into 2020 [filming was completed in 2017] —the prolific, undaunted Allen has already shot another film before this one ever saw a U.S. projector that I was starting to think “A Rainy Day in New York” might become a “lost film,” like Jerry Lewis’ “The Day the Clown Dried.” [10]

-In fact, its filmmaker is [also] lost in the directional sense, floundering in a world that has left him behind. “A Rainy Day in New York” feels like it was made 40 years ago, not two. Allen’s most charitable apologists will call it an old-fashioned homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age, like Allen’s moderately superior 2016 feature “Café Society.” But it’s more accurate to say that the beleaguered director is out of step with the zeitgeist, a stubborn dinosaur making movies for other stubborn dinosaurs. [10]

-Despite nods to contemporaneity like cell phones, the film more or less unfolds in a mythological version of New York that could be called anachronistic...there can be strange beauties in such inapposite fusions.  [13]

-A Rainy Day in New York has a wistful undercurrent as Allen seems to be wondering what he’d be like if young today and if he had been born one of the rich WASP kids he used to burlesque so happily. [13]

-To my very pleasant surprise A Rainy Day in New York proves perhaps the closest Allen has ever come to reproducing the simultaneous blitheness and covert depth some of the great old filmmakers he’s long emulated without ever truly grasping, torn as he long has been between celebrating the native virtues of his sensibility and surrounds whilst hankering to be augured into a more exalted tradition. Part of his success in this fashion might well come from the fact that he’s now an old man without too much energy to waste, and the film’s minor-key nonchalance helps inform a texture at once contemporary and nostalgic. [13]

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STREAMING
DIRECTOR:
Woody Allen
SCREENPLAY:
Woody Allen
PRODUCER
Letty Aronson, Erika Aronson
CINEMATOGRAPHY
Vittorio Storaro
EDITOR
Alisa Lepselter
CASTING
Patricia DiCerto
RUNTIME:
92 Minutes
BUDGET:
$25 Million
GROSS:
$22 Million
PRODUCTION:
Gravier Productions, Perdido Productions
DISTRIBUTOR:
MPI Media Group, Signature Entertainment
RATED:
PG-13
ASPECT RATIO:
2.00:1
U.S. RELEASE DATE:
October 9, 2020
DISTRIBUTOR
MPI Media Group, Signature Entertainment
RUNTIME
92 Minutes
BUDGET
$25 Million
GROSS
$22 Million
RATED
PG-13
ASPECT RATIO
2.00:1
US RELEASE DATE
October 9, 2020
Picture of film's poster
DIRECTOR:
Woody Allen
SCREENPLAY:
Woody Allen
PRODUCER:
Letty Aronson, Erika Aronson
CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Vittorio Storaro
EDITING:
Alisa Lepselter
CASTING:
Patricia DiCerto
PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Santo Loquasto
RUNTIME:
92 Minutes
BUDGET:
$25 Million
GROSS:
$22 Million
PRODUCTION:
Gravier Productions, Perdido Productions
DISTRIBUTOR:
MPI Media Group, Signature Entertainment
RATED:
PG-13
ASPECT RATIO:
2.00:1
U.S. RELEASE DATE:
October 9, 2020
PREMISE

In the Yardley College, Gatsby Welles learns that his girlfriend Ashleigh Enright will travel to Manhattan to interview the cult director Roland Pollard for the college paper and he plans a romantic weekend with her. Gatsby is the son of a wealthy family in New York and Ashleigh is from Tucson and her father owns several banks. He has no attraction to study in Yardley but gambling and Ashleigh. When they arrive in Manhattan, Gatsby does not tell his parents that are planning a fancy party in the evening. Ashleigh meets Pollard and he invites her to a screening of his new film with his writer Ted Davidoff. Meanwhile Gatsby stumbles upon his friend, who is cinema student, and he accepts to participate in a kiss scene with Chan Tyrell, who is the younger sister of his former girlfriend. Along the rainy weekend in New York, Gatsby and Ashleigh have new experiences and discoveries. [1]

CAST
Timothée Chalamet
...................................................................................................................................
Gatsby Welles
Elle Fanning
...................................................................................................................................
Ashleigh Enright
Selena Gomez
...................................................................................................................................
Chan Tyrell
Jude Law
...................................................................................................................................
Ted Davidoff
Diego Luna
...................................................................................................................................
Francisco Vega
Liev Schreiber
...................................................................................................................................
Roland Pollard
Kelly Rohrbach
...................................................................................................................................
Terry
Annaleigh Ashford
...................................................................................................................................
Lily
Rebecca Hall
...................................................................................................................................
Connie Davidoff
Cherry Jones
...................................................................................................................................
Mrs. Welles
Will Rogers
...................................................................................................................................
Hunter Welles

Woody’s Twilight Years

-It’s easy to forget that in 2005, critics declared Woody stale, out of touch and at the end of his career. After a string of forgettable and unimpressionable flops, both critically and commercially in the first half of 2000s, it appeared Woody had nothing left in the tank. But then came Match Point in 2005 and his European theater films that followed, climaxing with Blue Jasmine in 2013. Woody made four films during that time that could be held up to anything that he produced in his career. [WLC]

-In 2021, Woody turns 86 and has already completed his 49th film “Rifkin’s Festival.” It’s likely he has a 50th in him if he can find funding and distribution, but the larger question is if he has anything left to say. He has never had a problem entertaining, even as a teenager writing quips for the newspapers, but in his so-called twilight years, is entertaining all he cares about doing anymore? [WLC]

-It’s often noted that some filmmakers are drawn to make movies about old age in their youth and vice versa: A Rainy Day in New York is both a salute to the possibilities of youth but also an old man’s fragment of wisdom, quietly advising inheritors not to get caught up in old, exhausting traps. [13]

-Other great directors, such as John Ford in his “revisionist” Westerns of the 1960s, managed to get introspective at the end of their careers, questioning their oeuvre in light of changing mores. Allen doesn’t seem willing to go there yet, even if A Rainy Day in New York is filled with a kind of sadness that all the comedy in the world won’t erase. [8]

-That sadness is manifested here via nostalgia, both for a New York that no longer exists — and probably only ever existed for millionaires — and for a culture where the encounters between men and the young women they prey on are still played for laughs. Whether Allen’s movies will ever move beyond that sentiment can only be asked after a more crucial question, which is: Will people continue to watch them? [8]

-One wishes Allen didn’t try to squeeze so many one-liners and quid pro quos, or force a lame happy ending out of a movie that’s marked by an intrinsic level of darkness…[8]

-It would be one thing if only Gatsby were an anachronistic caricature out of Damon Runyan, but the entire feature is populated by archetypes frozen in time. Every character, regardless of age, speaks in references to ‘40s movies and classical literature, as if they all teleported from some cosmopolitan postwar bohemia. It doesn’t take a sleuth to figure out Allen’s game here: These are his cultural touchstones, embalmed in a mothballed past, and he’s too myopic to explore anything outside of his navel. [10]

"
Listen, Gatsby, let me tell you, you only live once. But once is enough if you find the right person.
"
Chan - Selena Gomez

Writing for Generations Removed

-It’s hard to watch a Woody Allen movie in 2020/2021 and forget about what is going on in the world pandemiclly, but possibly more so, culturally. Woody’s jokes, situation, characters, and topics are all under extreme dissection. Everything he writes, says, and directs is now held up under extreme prejudice and can no longer be taken simply, “as is.” This is apparent in the far majority of reviews for A Rainy Day in New York. Besides the more obvious examples of critics’ distaste with Woody, one thing that came up over and over is Woody is out of touch with the younger generation and shouldn’t be writing movies about them. [WLC]    

-But the thing all of these critics seem to have missed, is that Woody isn’t trying to create a realistic portrayal of twentysomethings falling in love and discussing art and politics through long winded monologues as if this is Annie Hall 2.0. Many fault his use of dated references, situations, and use of language that no one under 70 would realistically use in 2021. A Rainy Day in New York isn’t Husbands and Wives because it isn’t trying to be. Its equal parts nostalgia and fantasy and a glimpse inside the mind of Woody Allen himself. The film doesn’t come off as contemporary, not because Woody failed at his attempt, but because it is some weird fever dream of mixed up passions of Woody’s, that manifested into this odd little creature of a film. [WLC]      

-Just because it looks modern and takes place in modern times, doesn’t mean everything it has to equal that. It zigs when everyone expects it to zag and this discontent is widespread and contagious. It’s a case of “I expected it to be this, but what I got wasn’t this” without any attempt to understand why. It’s hard to debate if something is a success if you go into it expecting something it is not. [WLC]

-Despite the presence of iPhones and references to the “one per cent”, A Rainy Day In New York still takes place in Allen’s own cinematic universe — the WACU — where youngsters name-drop Irving Berlin and sport tweed. Allen’s best contemporary work, from Annie Hall to Manhattan to Husbands And Wives, still managed to keep one foot in the present. A feeling underlined by Vittorio Storaro’s warm, amber, nostalgic hues, A Rainy Day In New York has both feet firmly planted in the past. [11]

-What makes A Rainy Day in New York heartbreaking, especially for an Allen fan, is that Woody knows the perils of living in the past. He literally wrote a movie about it. Midnight in Paris, arguably one of his best films, advises one to look to the past for inspiration. It tells audiences to savour the present because we only get to live it once. His films frequently draw inspiration from classic literature and pepper their soundtracks with old jazz, but they’re rarely anachronistic. That’s why they age so well and endure despite Allen’s personal troubles. [12]

-A Rainy Day in New York, however, doesn’t use the past to engage with the present. All the references to art and culture are the classics that Allen gabbed about in the ’70s. Nobody in the film talks like a Millennial. Nobody acts like one. Any good film should try to understand the lives it portrays, yet Allen doesn’t seem to care anymore. The film is simply inauthentic and detached from the world it portrays. [12]

-The appeal of “A Rainy Day in New York,” to the extent it has any, is nostalgia. It has the familiar Woody Allen graphics at the start and, to some degree, has the atmosphere of other, better Woody Allen movies. But it’s mostly a mess — simply off in ways one usually doesn’t see in movies. [4]

-It’s mercilessly clear just how far Allen’s sensibilities are, not only from the millennial generation he’s ostensibly describing but also from the women of his own back catalogue (some of the most indelible, wonderful, idiosyncratic female characters in the American canon) and almost as depressingly, from the intensely romantic vision he always used to communicate of his other great muse, Manhattan. It’s “A Rainy Day in New York” indeed, but it doesn’t just rain, it pours. [5]

-To say that A Rainy Day In New York feel antiquated would be understatement; its characters seem to live in a different era. But then again, the same is true of the work of such post-Allen eccentrics as Wes Anderson and Whit Stillman. [9]

-Allen’s speciality isn’t realism and neither is it keeping up with the times, and it’s difficult to insist that he gets with the programme and makes different movies than the ones he pretty much invented. [14]

Did You Know?

A Rainy Day...The Lost Woody Allen Film

-Amazon shelved the release of "A Rainy Day in New York" in 2018, and then canceled a deal for three more films. At the time, Amazon cited Allen's "controversial comments" about the Weinstein scandal. [20]

-Allen’s last film, Wonder Wheel was released in 2017. Prior to that Allen had released at least one film every year since 1982, and before that, 9 films in 12 years. There has only been 5 times in 50 years, audiences didn’t get to see a new Woody Allen film in a given year. After 2 years with little news of a US distribution deal either theatrically or home release, it was easy to wonder if American audiences would ever see A Rainy Day in New York. [WLC]

-Amazon Studios pulled out of a four-movie deal with him (one of those movies was Rainy Day) after Allen said in a 2018 interview: “I should be the poster boy for the #MeToo movement. I’ve worked with hundreds of actresses and not a single one has ever suggested any kind of impropriety at all.” This is true: Allen has an excellent record with female actors, always giving them equal pay. Despite being one of the most closely watched men in the business, there have never even been rumours of harassment. But Amazon claimed Allen’s comment “sabotaged” the project. [19]

-Allen sued Amazon Studios when they refused to release “A Rainy Day in New York” following renewed controversy around the filmmaker stemming from the longstanding allegation that Allen molested his daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992. Numerous actors from the film publicly expressed regret for participating in the project and donated their salaries to charity. [6]

-Allen filed suit in February [2019], alleging that Amazon had unilaterally backed out of the deal due to a "25-year-old baseless allegation." Allen's daughter, Dylan Farrow, has long alleged that he raped her when she was seven years old, and Allen has long denied the charge. [20]

-Allen claimed that Amazon was fully aware of that controversy when it entered the contract, and that the streamer owed him $68 million in minimum guarantee payments. [20]

-In a motion to dismiss part of Allen's suit, Amazon argued that Allen's remarks on the scandal -- in which he warned about a "witch-hunt atmosphere" -- had made him a pariah in Hollywood. [20]

-"Scores of actors and actresses expressed profound regret for having worked with Allen in the past, and many declared publicly that they would never work with him in the future," Amazon's attorneys said. "Allen's actions and their cascading consequences ensured that Amazon could never possibly receive the benefit of its four-picture agreement." [20]

-Allen's company, Gravier Productions, managed to get an international release for "A Rainy Day in New York" this fall, and it has so far grossed [$22 million] in theaters around the globe. [20]

-In May 2019, Amazon Studios returned the domestic rights to indie film “A Rainy Day in New York” back to its director and producer, Woody Allen. [21]

-And in the end, due to the convoluted and complicated world of streaming rights, A Rainy Day in New York ended upon Amazon’s streaming service anyways. [3]

Did You Know?

-Principal photography began on September 11, 2017 in New York City and concluded on October 23. [2]

-A Rainy Day in New York first released in Poland July 26th, 2019. [15]

-The soundtrack features several songs played by jazz pianist Erroll Garner. [2]

-Due to the impact of the Woody Allen allegations and the rise of the MeToo movement, several stars of Woody's movie expressed their regret at choosing to work on the movie with the director (Ellen Page, David Krumholtz, Greta Gerwig, Mira Sorvino) [17], some of this most recent film  even went as far as to donate their entire salary to charity. [15] These actors include Rebecca Hall, Timothée Chalamet, Griffin Newman. [17]

-Timothée Chalamet, who donated his entire salary for a Rainy Day in New York RAINN, Time’s Up, and the LGBT Center of New York. Chalamet said that he didn’t want to profit from the movie, saying that he was inspired by the MeToo movement to donate his salary from the film to charity. [15]

-In Woody Allen’s autobiography, Apropos of Nothing, you can read: All the three leads in Rainy Day were excellent and a pleasure to work with… Timothée afterward publicly stated he regretted working with me and was giving the money to charity, but he swore to my sister he needed to do that as he was up for an Oscar for “Call Me by Your Name”, and he and his agent felt he had a better chance of winning if he denounced me, so he did. [16]

-Selena Gomez, who also stars in the film, received some backlash from fans for not joining her costars' charitable actions in the wake of sexual abuse claims against Allen. A source close to Gomez, however, told People that while Gomez hasn’t made a public statement against the director, she “made a significant donation anonymously” to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund that “far exceeded her salary for the film.” [18]

-Jude Law said regarding Amazon Studios shelving A Rainy Day in New York, “It’s a terrible shame. I’d love to see it. People worked really hard and put a lot in, obviously himself included.” Regarding allegations against Allen, Law responded, “I didn’t really want to get involved, to be honest. I just don’t feel like it was my place to comment, and it’s too delicate a situation. I feel like enough has been said about it. It’s a private affair. [As for working with Allen again], I don’t know. I’d have to consider carefully.” [22]

-Timothée Chalamet's maternal grandfather Harold Flender wrote for Sid Caesar in the 1950s, along with Woody Allen. When Allen later cast Timothée in the film, he was initially unaware of the family relation. [1]

-This the very first full feature film directed by Woody Allen with the words "New York" featured in the title. However, Woody Allen has made a number of movies featuring parts of New York in the title with "Manhattan" and "Broadway" being used twice in Woody Allen theatrical feature film titles. [1]

Finally a US Theater Release

-On October 9 2020, with little fanfare, MPI [Media Group and Signature Entertainment] released Woody Allen’s 2019 comedy “A Rainy Day in New York.” Virtually no one noticed: Six playdates yielded $2,744, or $457 per theater, for a total of around 300 ticket buyers. [7]

-“Rainy Day” played six specialized theaters. Three were Landmark (Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta) as well as independent outlets in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Fort Myers, Fla. Only the Century City in Chicago took in more than $1,000. Despite the poor showings, it was the best-grossing film at four of the six cinemas, at least among those that reported grosses. (Warner Bros. continues to block “Tenet” numbers.) [7]

-Certainly, the “Rainy Day” domestic performance would be improved if we lived in a post-COVID world; New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco theaters are the top markets, especially for this kind of film, and they are still closed. However, MPI is attempting a traditional platform play; the distributor plans to open six more theaters in the next two weeks. [7]

"
Real life is fine for people who can't do any better.
"
Chan - Selena Gomez
"
I read. I just don't read what they give us in school. I mean, do I really care who wins between Beowulf and Grendel? No, I don't. Maybe if I had a little money on it.
"
Gatsby - Timothée Chalamet

Critical Reception

-A.O. Scott for the The New York Times wrote: “I suppose I could also tell you that “A Rainy Day in New York” shows more liveliness and wit than some of its recent precursors, like “Magic in the Moonlight,” “Café Society” or “Wonder Wheel.” What’s on the menu here is the usual cynicism, overlaid with unconvincing, nostalgic dreaminess.”

-Jessica Kiang for Variety wrote: “Despite featuring some of the best actors of their respective generations, “A Rainy Day in New York” feels like a film born of profound creative exhaustion. It is a retread of territory Allen has extensively covered before, but while the same can be said about almost all of his late-career work, seldom have the gears ground quite so loudly, and never before has the writing felt this chronically out-of-phase with the era it depicts.”

-Peter Sobczynski for RogerEbert.com wrote: “You will recall that “Midnight in Paris” (2011), Woody Allen’s last unquestionably great film, told the story of a man in the grips of terminal nostalgia who found himself given the opportunity to go back to his idealized era where he felt more comfortable, where his cultural touchstones were still fresh and vibrant. Allen’s latest film, “A Rainy Day in New York,” feels like a work from someone in the midst of that very same condition. This is Allen’s 48th movie and while he has certainly made worse films than this one during that time, rarely has he come up with something as utterly inconsequential as this collection of rehashed themes, characters, and punchlines.

-Mick LaSalle for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “For the record, I laughed three times, mildly, so Woody Allen can be found, alive, somewhere in this wreckage. He has made too many great movies following bad movies to ever count him out forever. But “A Rainy Day in New York” is not just one of the lesser Woodys, it’s one of the least.”

-Mark Olson for the Los Angeles Times wrote: “It’s actually been nice to have a break from Woody Allen. The abrasive petulance of his memoir only underscored his ongoing refusal to reflect or grow, while the indifferent writing and direction of “A Rainy Day In New York” feels like more of the same.”

-Jordan Mintzer for The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “A Rainy Day has its moments, most of them thanks to star Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), who does a terrific job channeling your typical Allenian antihero: a neurotic, scrawny, clever and critical New Yorker who’s also quite the charmer.”

-Ignatiy Vishnevetsky for A.V. Club wrote: “The value we find in things is not an equation in which we subtract the sum of the off-putting qualities from the appealing ones and accept the result. Intentionally slight, A Rainy Day In New York speaks only to its director’s hackiest tendencies. It’s likely that the film (which was shot three years ago and has been disavowed by much of its cast) will be the last one Allen will film in the United States. If that’s true, it makes for an ignominious farewell.”

-Matt Thrift for Little White Lies wrote: “A Rainy Day in New York is hardly top-tier Allen, but it’s a shame that such wonderful performances are unlikely to receive the wider attention they deserve.”

-A Rainy Day in New York has a 47% Rotten Tomatoes rating as of 2021.

Review Headlines
How to Ruin Your Weekend
-The New York Times
An engaging, youthful cast cannot resuscitate this markedly out-of-date Woody Allen misfire
-Variety
Woody Allen romance is a washout
-The Guardian
Not even Selena Gomez can save Woody Allen’s ‘A Rainy Day in New York’
-San Francisco Chronicle
Woody Allen is back with ‘A Rainy Day in New York.’ But it’s just more of the same
-Los Angeles Times
Woody Allen’s worst creative impulses are on display in the long-delayed A Rainy Day In New York
-A.V. Club
Woody Allen’s Soggy “A Rainy Day in New York”
-boca
Woody Allen falters… again
-The Newnan Times-Herald
Before and After
A Rainy Day in New York
Movie poster of film before or after currently selected film
2017