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THE REEL: Wonder Wheel

Friday September 14 2018

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake ( pictured) stars alongside Kate Winslet, Juno Temple, Debi Mazar, Woody Allen, Jesse Eisenberg, Cafe Society in Wonder Wheel. PHOTO| FILE 

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I was reluctant to watch this for a couple of reasons, but one of the main ones was that I am still struggling with that whole separating an artist from his art spiel.

Am I going to buy anything R Kelly has ever produced? No. The verdict has been out on Woody Allen, the director of this film, for quite a while – in fact, his next movie has been shelved due to the accusations linked to his name, of molestation from his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow.

I don't know, man. It's a hard Hollywood to be living in, and it's a hard Hollywood to be watching. Especially with greats like Woody Allen – if the man could stand alone, apart from his work, he's easily one of the best creators of his time. But who he is as a person sneaks into what he puts on film, and that's a difficult line to separate. I'm just letting you know this before you watch the movie.


That being said, I don't know if this is the Woody Allen movie you want to start with. Cafe Society with Jesse Eisenberg was better for me, even though still bordering on strangeness, questions on masculinity and fidelity, much like Wonder Wheel.

Winslet plays Ginny, an unhappy waitress married to  Humpty, an unhappy circus worker parenting an unhappy belligerent child from her first marriage in a small seaside town whose circus is its main attraction, along with the usual pizza parlour, movie theatre spiel straight from and set in the 1950s a la Grease's colourful polka-dotted America.


She doesn't like her job and has grand delusions about the life she could have led were she to become an actress; a life she chooses to not pursue and simply dream about.

Their lives are changed when two things happen – she falls in love with an attractive lifeguard at the beach, Timberlake, and all her caution goes to the wind as she starts an affair; and her husband's estranged daughter Caroline, played by Temple, comes home to roost as she is running away from a dark and badly chosen past.

Keeping those two lives separate proves impossible, and Winslet has to decide what she is willing to give up for her passions, if at all.

Justin Timberlake's movies tend to be a hit or miss for me. Same with Woody Allen movies, if I'm

being honest. This one was good for Allen, but not so good for Justin, for me. The cinematography is beautifully nostalgic and eerie at the same time, but in terms of plot line, conclusion and Timberlake's exaggerated acting which I assume was on purpose to go with the eerie theme, the whole thing fell a little flat for me, all Titanic puns intended.