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Film / Hollywood Ending

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Hollywood Ending is a 2002 American comedy film written, directed by and starring Woody Allen.

Val Waxman (Allen) is a once prestigious film director lately reduced to overseeing cheesy television commercials in order to pay his bills. After seeking for a "real" movie project, Val receives an offer to direct a big-budget blockbuster movie from his ex-wife, Ellie (Téa Leoni). Val agrees to the project, but is struck with a bout of hysterical blindness just before production is to begin, and Val now has to keep his blindness a secret from the cast and studio head.


This film provides examples of:

  • Casting Couch: Subverted, in that the buxom lead actress wants to sleep with Val because he's a great director. Val advises she advertise that line in the DGA Guide. Meanwhile, Lori is only sleeping with Val to get roles. She's more than happy to break up with him — so long as she doesn't lose the part in his movie.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The title of the film comes from Val enjoying a "Hollywood ending" of his own—he regains his sight after rekindling his relationship with Ellie and reconnecting with his estranged son Tony, and while his movie flopped in the US, it is a hit in France.
  • Film Noir: The Show Within a Show is a neo-noir film set in The '40s.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In-universe, the movie Val shot while blind totally bombs in the US... but turns out to be a surprise hit overseas, especially in France. After winning Ellie back, he happily proclaims, "Thank God the French exist".
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  • Hollywood Pudgy: Invoked when Lori, played by Debra Messing of all people, complains she's getting fat as an actress; her waistline is 25".
  • Le Film Artistique: Val apparently ends up making one of these accidentally: He was blind while directing it. The American critics hate it, but the French love it.
  • Literal Metaphor: Val is aghast at the final product of the film, exclaiming it's like a blind man directed it — which it literally was.
  • Secret-Keeper: Only Ellie and the translator (played by Barney Cheng) knows Val is blind. Unfortunately, Ellie can't be on set, and the translator knows nothing about filmmaking, so can't help Val artistically.
  • Show Within a Show: The big-budget blockbuster movie that Val has to direct while blind.
  • Temporary Blindness: Val suffers a bout of hysterical blindness just before production of his movie is about to begin. He eventually regains his sight at end of the movie.
  • Working with the Ex: Val receives the offer to direct the movie from his former wife, Ellie. They reconcile at the end of the movie.