Review Roundup - Film Adaptation of Acclaimed Musical HELLO AGAIN Hits Theaters
HELLO AGAIN, the highly anticipated film adaptation of Michael John LaChiusa's acclaimed musical, comes to limited nationwide theaters today. A revolving door of sensual encounters spanning a century, the provocative musical features an extraordinary ensemble of actors including six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, Emmy Award-winner and Tony nominee Martha Plimpton, Emmy and Drama Desk nominee T.R. Knight, Rumer Willis, Cheyenne Jackson, SAG Award-winner and Grammy nominee Jenna Ushkowitz, Teen Choice Award-winner Tyler Blackburn, Sam Underwood, Nolan Gerard Funk and Al Calderon. HELLO AGAIN is directed by Tom Gustafson, features a screenplay by Cory Krueckeberg and music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa.
100 years. 10 love affairs. One city of lost souls. Hello Again explores a daisy chain of New Yorkers slipping in and out of one another's arms in 10 musical vignettes blurring the parameters of time, love, eroticism and exploitation. The film HELLO AGAIN is based on the Michael John LaChiusa stage musical of the same name. The inspiration for HELLO AGAIN is Arthur Schnitzler's Der Reigen, a 120 year-old play so provocative and controversial in its time that it was banned from public performance for decades, before inspiring a heated, even violent responses from audiences.
Let's see what the critics have to say:
Michael Dale, BroadwayWorld: It's LaChiusa's richly-textured chamber score that provides the erotic enticement. Predominantly conversational in style, the composer allows flourishes of jazz, blues, disco and other 20th Century forms to emerge with each scene. Most intriguing is how his music dictates the rhythms and tones of each sexual encounter to match the emotions of the participants, making HELLO AGAIN an experience that truly looks within.
Andy Webster, The New York Times: The movie benefits from Austin Schmidt's neon-infused cinematography and Annie Simeone's lush production design. But Mr. LaChiusa's songs largely fail to resonate here. Dramatic traction suffers, probably as a result of the many, and diffuse, vignettes. And yet this is a commendably audacious effort by Mr. Gustafson ("Were the World Mine"). The movie musical needs more ambitious creators like him.
Alan Scherstuhl, Miami New Times: What Gustafson has achieved is certainly artful, and sometimes, through montage and smart camerawork, suggests correspondences between these century-crossing assignations that the stage show could not. But even at its best, this Hello Again struck me as an uncertain, even ancillary work, something more like a dream revival's dramatized cast recording than a recording of an actual production or a movie that stands fully on its own.
Caroline Preece, Den of Geek: There's no denying that Hello Again is an interesting film, but it's sadly not a particularly watchable one. Not enough is done to underline the sequences with any further meaning or significance, and without those the film is in danger of becoming feature-length soft-core pornography you're allowed to watch in cinemas.
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