Considered by many critics to be his best film, Hannah and Her Sisters is also one of Woody Allen’s greatest Box Office successes. As with much of his work over that period, the irrepressible optimist cast his (then) partner Mia Farrow as one of the leads. Allen himself also features in a supporting role. It won three Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Michael Caine) and Best Supporting Actress (Dianne Wiest).
The film begins at a Thanksgiving party hosted by Hannah (Farrow) and her husband Elliot (Caine). He’s infatuated with one of her sisters, Lee (Barbara Hershey) and the pair begin an affair. Lee lives in a failing relationship with a reclusive artist, Fredrick (Max von Sydow). Mickey (Allen) is Hannah’s ex-husband whose infertility proved the downfall of their marriage. Holly (Wiest), Hannah’s other sister, is a struggling actress and former addict.
Bookmarked by two Thanksgiving celebrations, Hannah and Her Sisters takes place over the period of two years. The film follows three story arcs: Lee and Elliot; Hannah and Mickey; and Holly and her rivalry with April (Carrie Fisher) – both on stage, and for the attentions of an architect (Sam Waterston). Hannah and Her Sisters is brilliantly written and features one of the best ensemble casts ever to grace the screen. It’s easily one of Allen’s finest films, both in terms of the script and the direction.
Hannah and Her Sisters is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on Monday.