A Philosophy Lesson From Woody Allen

On July 22, 2015 by Lori Z

This is a post by JBFC Marketing Intern Stacy Zakalik

irrationalmanWoody Allen’s newest film, Irrational Man, opens at the Burns on July 24. Starring Joaquin Phoenix as an existentially morose college philosophy professor named Abe Lucas, it is the story of Lucas’ transition to a new campus in the fictional Braylin College, set in Newport, Rhode Island.

Once he gets there, rumors start to proliferate about him. Some say that his wife left him for his best friend. Others say he saw a close friend die by a land mine in Iraq. As the rumors continue to float around him, Lucas becomes more interesting to both the faculty and the students.

While there, Lucas comes across as apathetic and unsympathetic. He says depressing existential one-liners to his students and even plays Russian Roulette with them in the classroom. Despite his obvious hardened exterior, two of the supporting characters fall madly in love with him.

Parker Posey plays Rita, a science professor who is living in an unhappy marriage and happily goes after Lucas, hoping to move to England with him and start a new life there. Emma Stone plays Jill, a brilliant philosophy student who finds Lucas different and fascinating. Throughout the film, Lucas is seen juggling both love interests, much to the chagrin of Roy (Jamie Blackley), Jill’s boyfriend.

Even with these two women after him, Lucas is still saddened by his life and how things turned out. That is, until he overhears a conversation in a diner about a woman who is going to lose her children in a custody battle with her ex-husband and a corrupt judge. Lucas seizes his chance (and seizes the day), becoming vibrant once again, as he realizes one act can both help this woman and give him a reason to live.

Woody Allen’s comedy, although light, juggles some dark and immense concepts. This makes the film all the better, making it somewhere between a comedy, thriller, and drama.

Lucas may be an irrational man, but this is a very rational choice if you’re looking to see a great movie.

Tickets for Woody Allen’s Irrational Man are on sale now!

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