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Film / Melinda and Melinda

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Melinda and Melinda is a 2004 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen.

A group of writers conversing over dinner find themselves questioning if life is naturally comic or tragic. For the sake of argument, one of them tells a story about a woman, Melinda (Radha Mitchell) who crashes a party thrown by her friends, twice; once as a comedy and once as a tragedy.

This film provides examples of:

  • Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: In the comedic half of the movie, Hobie begins dating a blonde Republican who posed for Playboy.
  • Homage: The "serious" Melinda story is one to A Streetcar Named Desire.
  • No Ending: The serious story has no ending, with the characters noting Melinda will always need someone to take care of her. The Framing Device has Sy end the film by saying that "it can end... like that." as he snaps his fingers. Cut to black and credits roll.
  • Please Dump Me: In the comic version, Hobie desperately wants to break up with his wife to run off with the eponymous Melinda, but can't think of an excuse to. He walks in, preparing to tell his wife that he was dumping her...only to find her in bed with another man — causing her to state she's no longer in love with him and she wants out of the relationship. Hobie tries mightily to pretend he's heartbroken as his face wants to break out in joy.
  • Quip to Black: The Framing Device ends the film justly:
    Sy: We just got to accept it and enjoy it, because it can end... like that. [Snaps fingers. Cut to black. Credits Roll.]
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The writers' friends note the Irony the comic writer is the pessimist while the drama writer is the optimist.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Pretty much the whole point of the story is exploring both extremes of the scale re-telling the same story twice, once as a comedy and once as a tragedy.