Woody Allen returns to Cannes, as per usual out of competition, to present You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. In the words of its narrator, quoting Shakespeare, it's a 'tale of sound and fury, signifying nothing.' And that's exactly right, for it's about characters in crises of their own making, whose journeys tend to lead nowhere.
After the disappointing Whatever Works, Allen is on steadier ground here, returning to London for a third time and being a little less unfamiliar in his tone. The humour here is at times fantastical, but never distractingly so, and its characters may be a bit loopy, but they're far from outrageous, and Allen does again manage to observe some facet of life in the story's telling.
Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) has left Helena (Gemma Jones) to find his youth, and starts driving expensive cars and visiting tanning salons. He meets a prostitute named Charmaine (Lucy Punch) and makes the rather unfortunate mistake of falling in love with her, making her his wife and vowing to buy her anything she desires. Of course it turns out she desires quite a bit.
Meanwhile his ex-wife Helena is obsessed with the various predictions of her fortune teller, who is apparently always right and suggests there's a tall dark stranger in her future. Her fervent belief in her swami's power of perception causes problems with daughter Sally and particularly with Sally's husband Roy, a wannabe author struggling through difficult-second-project syndrome, who is tired of hearing his mother-in-law's frequent mentions of his artistic inadequacy.