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Film / Celebrity

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Celebrity is a 1998 comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen.

Lee Simon (Kenneth Branagh) is an unsuccessful novelist turned travel writer who immerses himself in celebrity journalism following a midlife crisis and subsequent divorce from his insecure wife, former English teacher Robin (Judy Davis). However, as he stumbles his way through both professional encounters and sexual escapades with performers, models, and other players in the world of entertainment, Lee ruins numerous opportunities due to his fame-seeking, insecurities and neuroses. Meanwhile, Robin leaves her many neuroses behind and is led to success.


This film contains examples of:

  • Adam Westing: Most of the people appearing in cameos in the film play exaggerated versions of themselves based on their public reputation, even if their characters go by another name. Examples include Leonardo DiCaprio as a hard-partying teen idol, Winona Ryder appearing as a slightly awkward actress being coached in the art of seducing (in reference to the many "inocence lost" characters she played at the time), and Donald Trump planning to buy St. Patrick's Cathedral and knock it down.
  • Arc Words: "HELP ME".
  • Author Avatar: Kenneth Branagh's character Lee Simon is clearly an avatar for Woody Allen and his trademark neurotic characters. Robin also seems to ape some Allen mannerisms at the beginning, making her a sort of Distaff Counterpart. Interestingly, Allen did not intend for Branagh to be a Allen character, but Branagh decided to play his character as such.
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  • Deliberately Monochrome: As many other Woody Allen films, the film is deliberately in black and white.
  • Exact Words: Starlet Nicole Oliver states that her body belongs entirely to her husband. However, her head is free to do whatever it wants — so she gives Lee a blowjob.
  • Homage: The film is basically an updated version of .
  • Hourglass Plot: Lee starts up wanting to immerse himself in celebrity journalism thinking that it will bring him success, while his ex-wife Robin is insecure on top of the neuroses the couple had. As the movie progresses, Lee doesn't get out of his neuroses and starts becoming as insecure as his ex-wife was, which wrecks numerous opportunities for him to succeed, while Robin leaves her many neuroses behind and gets a makeover that eventually led her to her own celebrity interview program.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The film opens and ends with Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. The opening is more or less an over-the-top gag. The closing is far darker context.
  • Take That Me: The movie is in black and white. In one scene, Tony points out a movie director to Robin, saying the director films his movies in pretentious black and white.