by KE Monahan Huntley

Regardless of what one may think about Woody Allen's personal peccadilloes, as an auteur, he does turn out smart movies. Celebrity is no exception. His casting is impeccable (Leo!) -- real life tabloid celebrities share screen time with long time Allen favorites. All the requisite symbols of fame and fortune are scattered about (storyencoding) -- plastic surgery, personal assistants, impossible restaurant reservations, ladies who lunch. The paparazzi snap the glitterati -- the East Coast intelligentsia toss off literary bon mots.

The table hopping style of storytelling (storyweaving) bears a semblance of a Dramatica grand argument story, necessary for keeping the film from pop icon overload. The main character throughline is quite well defined; Kenneth Branagh as Lee Simon takes on the usual Allen role of the shallow whiner-a lovable skirt chasing loser (judgement-bad). His quest (mc domain-physics) for the spotlight (mc concern-obtaining) fails, in stinging contradiction to his influence character, awkward ex-wife Robin (Judy Davis). Robin not only changes her essential nature (ic resolve), but also blossoms (oc concern-becoming) into a media savvy, camera ready beauty (she's superficial, but much happier!). Lee and Robin's throughlines intersect enough to offer a relationship story, but the objective story is as elusive as celebrity itself.

In the case of Celebrity, a loosely structured story works well thematically with its ephemeral subject matter-that unlike the cinematography, is not all black and white. Woody Allen provides just enough of a framework to create a celluloid context for our celebrity culture that allows us to have a laugh on him, and of course, on our own star-struck selves.

About the Author

KE Monahan Huntley is an editor and publisher based in Southern California. As one of the original contributors to Dramatica, she helped edit and analyze many of the examples. In addition, her numerous articles provided an insightful "conversational" approach to the theory. Today she can be found at Write Between the Lines or follow her on Twitter @kemhuntley.

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