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Hollywood Ending

Hollywood Ending
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Woody Allen
Produced by Letty Aronson
Kathleen Kennedy
Frank Marshall
Written by Woody Allen
Starring Woody Allen
George Hamilton
Téa Leoni
Debra Messing
Mark Rydell
Treat Williams
Tiffani Thiessen
Music by David Arnold
Cinematography Wedigo von Schultzendorff
Edited by Alisa Lepselter
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures
Release dates
  • May 3, 2002 (2002-05-03)
Running time
114 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $16 million[1]
Box office $14,839,383[1]

Hollywood Ending is an American comedy film from 2002 written and directed by Woody Allen, who also plays the principal character. It tells the story of a once-famous film director who suffers hysterical blindness due to the intense pressure of directing.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production notes 3
  • Reception 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Val Waxman (Allen) is a one-time prestigious film director lately reduced to overseeing cheesy television commercials in order to pay his bills and support his current live-in girlfriend (Debra Messing). When he is thrown off his latest effort (a deodorant commercial being filmed in the frozen north), he desperately seeks a real movie project.

Out of the blue, Val receives an offer to direct a big-budget blockbuster movie to be set in New York City. However, the offer comes from his former wife (Téa Leoni) and her current boyfriend (Treat Williams), the studio head who stole Val's wife from him.

Pushed by his agent (Mark Rydell), Val agrees to the project, but a psychosomatic ailment strikes him blind just before production is to begin. The movie plays out with an aging director struggling to regain his vision, both literally and metaphorically.

In the end, Val's project costs $60 million—and flops. Nevertheless, Val enjoys a "Hollywood ending" of his own—his movie is a hit in France. Winning his wife back, he happily proclaims, "Thank God the French exist."


Production notes

Haskell Wexler was the original cinematographer, but was fired by Woody Allen after a week of filming as they couldn't agree on how to film certain shots. Wedigo von Schultzendorff replaced Wexler.[3]


The film received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film received 47% positive reviews, based on 130 reviews.[4] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 46 out of 100, based on 37 reviews.[5]

The film was a failure in American theaters, with ticket sales under $5 million.[1][2] As with most later Woody Allen films, it had more success internationally, with a worldwide gross of $14.8 million.[1]

It was screened out of competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.[6]

In the United Kingdom, it was the first of Allen's films not to receive a theatrical release.

Film critic Bryant Frazer thought that it suffered from poor editing. He wrote, "What's most frustrating is the sense that Hollywood Ending could have been quite a bit better than it actually is. At 114 minutes, it's decisively lacking in the brevity that used to characterize Allen's pictures - even the super-serious, Bergman-inspired stuff. Worse, his timing seems to be off -- the filmmaker who was once notorious for cutting his films to the absolute bone now gives us rambling, overlong shots featuring performers who almost seem to be ad libbing their dialogue. I ran to the Internet Movie Database to investigate, and discovered what may be the problem - Susan Morse is gone. Morse, the editor who had worked with Allen since Manhattan in 1979 and who turned into a real soldier by the time of the jazzy montage that characterized Deconstructing Harry, was reportedly a victim of budget-cutting within the ranks."[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Hollywood Ending at The Numbers
  2. ^ a b Hollywood Ending at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^
  4. ^ Hollywood Ending at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ Hollywood Ending at Metacritic
  6. ^
  7. ^

External links

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