The Purple Rose of Cairo
1985 | Comedy | 82 minutes | In English
The film is set in a small New Jersey town in 1935 during the Great Depression. Cecilia is a clumsy waitress who seeks escape from her bleak life and abusive husband Monk by going to afternoon movies. The film now playing, The Purple Rose of Cairo, is about Henry, a rich Manhattan playwright, who goes on an exotic vacation to Egypt with his companions Jason and Rita. While in Egypt, the trio meet archeologist Tom Baxter. After Cecelia sees the film several times, Tom Baxter notices her and steps out of the screen to tell Cecilia how attracted he is to her. As they wander around town, Tom and Cecilia fall in love. However, the producer must now find a way of getting Tom Baxter back in the film. He flies to New Jersey with actor Gil Shepherd. This creates an unusual love triangle between Cecilia, Tom and Gil. Although Cecilia loves the fantasy Tom, she chooses to go with the real-life Gil. But the uncaring Gil betrays Cecilia and flies back to Hollywood. Cecilia, lonely as ever, is back in the theater watching afternoon movies. She’s now enraptured with the dancing and singing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in “Top Hat.”
Players in the Purple Rose movie: Edward Herrmann (Henry), Van Johnson (Larry Wilde), John Wood (Jason), Deborah Rush (Rita), Zoe Caldwell (The Countess), Karen Akers (Kitty Haynes), Milo O’Shea (Father Donnelly)
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 91
- Metacritic Score: 75
BAFTA AWARDS: Best Film; Best Screenplay
César Award: Best Foreign Film
Golden Globe Awards: Best Screenplay; Best Actress (Mia Farrow)
Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Original Screenplay
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PURPLE ROSE is delightful from beginning to end, not only because of the clarity and charm with which Daniels and Farrow explore the problems of their character, but also because the movie is so intelligent. The movie is filled with wit and invention, and Allen trusts us to find the ironies, relish the contradictions, and figure things out for ourselves.
To be blunt about it, THE PURPLE ROSE of CAIRO is pure enchantment. It’s a sweet, lyrically funny, multi-layered work that again demonstrates that Woody Allen is our premier filmmaker, who standing something over 5 feet tall in his sneakers, towers above all others. I can’t believe the year will bring forth anything to equal THE PURPLE ROSE of CAIRO.
As the star-struck couple, Farrow and Daniels work wonders with fantastic emotions, while Allen’s direction invests enough care, wit and warmth to make it genuinely moving.
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