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“Crimes and Misdemeanors” Film by Woody Allen Essay

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Updated: May 1st, 2021

Woody Allen is famous for his ability to draw people’s attention to something that matters. In his Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), the renowned director contemplates such eternal issues as life and death, love and its power, loneliness, and its impact on people. Importantly, Allen suggests an interesting perspective on the meaning of life. Professor Louis Levy is the character whose ideas frame the story and make viewers pose difficult questions and try to answer them. The professor’s voice behind the final scenes makes a philosophical summary of the film. This paper includes an analysis of the final quote of professor Louis Levy concerning the meaning of human life and the way the words relate to the film.

The final words of the film can be regarded as a quick reminder of the main characters and their life choices. The wise professor states that people are nothing but the total of their own choices that define them and their behavior (Allen). The first character to come to viewers’ minds is Judah Rosenthal who seems to be a perfect family man but appears to be an adulterer and, eventually, murderer.

The events unfold rather unpredictably, and he makes immoral choices, which makes him an immoral man. Clifford Stern gives quite a rightful evaluation of these choices arguing that the man who has committed so many crimes cannot live a peaceful life any longer. The viewer is likely to agree that this kind of person cannot be happy as such a man does not deserve happiness. Nevertheless, Woody Allen has another view on the matter. It becomes clear that Judah does not seem but is happy with his wife. He seems calm and joyful. His past choices have no adverse effects on his present.

The director addresses this paradox and reveals his ideas in Professor Louis Levy’s quote. It is stated that “human beings seem to… find joy from simple things, like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more” (Allen). Judah has found this joy, which enables him to forget the immoral choices he has made or, at least, to accept them. The man is blessed to reconcile himself to his past and his future.

On the contrary, making the right choices and being a moral man does not necessarily lead to a happy life. Clifford Stern’s story is an illustration of this paradox. The documentary filmmaker depicts people in the way they deserve. He is not enticed to make a snobbish person look better than he is. Clifford is ready to follow his heart and marry the woman he loves (Allen). Unlike Judah, the man is ready to be sincere with his wife and do the right thing.

Nevertheless, he ends up quite a miserable loner who seems to lose his faith. The final scenes reveal the sorrow of the rightful man. Woody Allen shows that it is not enough to make good choices as it is critical to have the right attitude towards life, different events, and other people. Since Clifford fails to find true love and joy, and, therefore, meaning, he is doomed. People like unhappy documentary filmmakers tend to focus on their sorrows and the choices they make. However, it can be more beneficial to try to find the meaning of their life in simple things.

Apart from applying the quote in question to particular characters, it can be regarded as a summary of the entire film. Woody Allen shows the life of different people who try to find their way in the universe that is indifferent and cold, indeed. People like Judah’s lover or Clifford’s beloved develop relationships and try to love and live. The wise rabbi and the famous psychologist help others to find their way, which makes their lives filled with meaning.

All these stories unveil the complexities of human life and its paradoxes. The film also suggests a simple truth concerning people’s quest for happiness. It is essential to be happy with what people have and try to make moral choices. At that, morality is not the key to happiness or satisfaction. On the contrary, moral behavior can be a longer path to a happy life. The filmmakers encourage viewers to make their own choice that can influence their future life.

To sum up, the professor’s words can resonate with many people’s hearts as they shed light on the major secret of being. The universe can seem cold and even hostile. In many cases, it can be indifferent to people’s sorrows and hardships. No one is likely to help people cope with these challenges. People’s attitude and ability to find joy in available things is the key to their happiness. Making choices is often really hard, but it is even more difficult to reconcile with oneself. Woody Allen’s film helps people see the complexity of life and a possible way out. Of course, it is up to the viewer whether to follow this advice or keep to their agendas.

Work Cited

Allen, Woody, director. Crimes and Misdemeanors. Orion Pictures, 1989.

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""Crimes and Misdemeanors" Film by Woody Allen." IvyPanda, 1 May 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/crimes-and-misdemeanors-film-by-woody-allen/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. ""Crimes and Misdemeanors" Film by Woody Allen." May 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/crimes-and-misdemeanors-film-by-woody-allen/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '"Crimes and Misdemeanors" Film by Woody Allen'. 1 May.

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