Celebrity (1998)

A funny look at people who will do anything to get famous... or stay famous.

Original Title : Celebrity
Director : Woody Allen
Writer : Woody Allen
Genre : Comedy
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Letty Aronson , J.E. Beaucaire , Richard Brick , Jean Doumanian , Charles H. Joffe , Jack Rollins (II)
Photography : Sven Nykvist
MPAA Rating : Rated R for language, sex and some drug use.
IMDB ID : 0120533
Official site :
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poster for "Celebrity" by Woody Allen (1998)
Celebrity (1998) - Woody Allen


¬Kenneth Branagh Lee Simon
¬Judy Davis Robin Simon
¬Joe Mantegna Tony Gardella
¬Famke Janssen Bonnie
¬Winona Ryder Nola
¬Charlize Theron Supermodel
¬Melanie Griffith Nicole Oliver
¬Michael Lerner I


Lee Simon, unsuccessful journalist and wanna-be novelist, tries to get a foot into the door with celebrities. After divorcing his wife Robin, Lee gets to meet a lot folks of the rich and / or beautiful, partly through journalism, partly because he has a script to offer. But life among those from out-of-this-world is hard, and his putative success always results in defeat. Meanwhile Robin meets a very desirable TV-producer and takes the first steps in the world of celebrities herself.


Unjustly overlooked CELEBRITY (1998) ***1/2 The biggest irony in CELEBRITY is how long it took to be released in Brazil: two years. This is not a common thing here, but it has also happened to DECONSTRUCTING HARRY, SWEET AND LOWDOWN and now SMALL TIME CROOKS. It seems that they have something against Woody Allen and his fans, but in fact it is a problem among the distributors. However, the wait was worthy: CELEBRITY is a great film. It received bad reviews in the US for no apparent reason- here in Brazil the reviews were almost universally positive. Maybe the critics are tired of Woody Allen, maybe they just didn't get his point. The truth is that CELEBRITY is no ANNIE HALL, MANHATTAN, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS or CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, but is a great film overall. The story is about a divorced couple- Lee and Robin Simon (Kenneth Branagh and Judy Davis), who try to find their position in the society. Lee is a journalist who starts to write about art, so he gets closer to celebrities. He gets involved with lots of women- the futile actress Nicole Oliver (Melanie Griffith) who belongs to her husband only down the neck, a supermodel (Charlize Theron) with an "erotic failure", a cold woman (Famke Janssen) who wants to live with him, and a second rate actress (Winona Ryder) who is not his "obscure object of desire" as he thinks. He is between finish writing his novel (after the bad reviews for his first novel) and trying to sell a script- when he meets another futile star (Leonardo DiCaprio). In resume, his life is a mess with no way-back. In the meantime, his ex-wife Robin, an English teacher, ironically gets more luck than him: she meets a TV producer (Joe Mantegna), who thinks she has a future as a TV presenter. With a good story in hands, Allen turns it into an acid, funny film. But you know the laughs in his films aren't gratuitous- they come naturally, or depending on the way you get into the scene. And they are also bitter (remember the subtitles scene in ANNIE HALL)- this taste of humor is not for everyone. The funniest, best scene is when the prostitute teaches Davis' character how to do a blow-job, using a banana. As usual, Allen takes great performances from the whole cast. Kenneth Branagh has been criticized for imitating Woody Allen too much, but I think he did a great job. We already know Judy Davis (especially), Joe Mantegna and Winona Ryder are terrific, but it is a miracle what Allen can do with Melanie Griffith, Leonardo Di Caprio and Charlize Theron, usually bland performers. Charlize is the most peculiar character and delivers a great and funny performance. The main detail of the film is the use of black-and-white. This is not the first time Allen uses that (MANHATTAN, STARDUST MEMORIES, SHADOWS AND FOG), but it is almost a character in this picture- it shows a world that is even more sufocating than ours. With that, he makes an acid critic about our society, that turns superficial, futile people into instant celebrities. This is not new, of course, but here these people are also victims of the sufocating society. If a society can be interpreted by who it chooses to celebrate, it is worse than it seems to be. Allen commits some mistakes here and there with his critic, but you don't find many films like this out there- clever, funny, bitter and realistic. Remember the HELP sign on the air...
poster for "Celebrity"
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Celebrity (1998) - Woody Allen
poster for "Celebrity"
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Celebrity (1998) - Woody Allen