Brow Beat

Woody Allen’s Irrational Man May Be About More Than Another Male Midlife Crisis

Once again, Joaquin Phoenix is a sad sack in search of love.

Still from YouTube

Woody Allen’s latest film is called Irrational Man, and Joaquin Phoenix, master of playing irrational men, stars as Abe Lucas, a brilliant college professor who’s fallen into a funk for which the only cure is the doe-eyed affection of a student (Emma Stone). Parker Posey, completing the love triangle, plays Lucas’ doting colleague.

This is very familiar territory for Allen, who has made maybe two dozen other movies about a smart, tormented male who has a midlife crisis and a rejuvenating relationship with a young ingénue. And yet, from the above trailer, there seems to be something a shade more complicated about the film. For one, Lucas’ angsty theatrics aren’t actually the movie’s focus; rather, it’s his subsequent burst of optimism that drives the plot, and which, even more interestingly, actively unnerves Stone’s character. Entertainment Weekly reports that Posey only got 20 pages of the script on set, giving further credence to the idea that something pretty important, plot-wise, is being kept under wraps.  

Regarding Posey: Her involvement may be reason enough to see the film, as the actress, besides being generally transcendent on screen, is particularly good when she can sink her teeth into the sort of witty, hyper-literate script that Allen churns out yearly. Irrational Man is out July 17.

*Correction, April 30, 2015: This post originally stated that Irrational Man would be released on July 24.