Advertisement

15 Movies That Say More About Their Makers Than They Realise

Look closer.

No worthwhile work of art or piece of entertainment has ever been created without at least part of its creator being reflected in it. Most of the time, these preferences and idiosyncrasies are easy to identify and don't say anything particularly profound about the associated authors, of course: Michael Bay has a predilection towards bombastic explosions and shooting his female cast members like porn stars, so clearly he's a misogynistic jock asshole who couldn't define the word 'subtle' if you handed him an Oxford dictionary - he'd probably just tear the dictionary apart and reboot it with a needlessly dark backstory. The same goes for Spielberg and his tendency to exhibit broken families in his work - we all know the director's home life wasn't always a box of roses. But what about the films that require a little more digging beneath the surface for us to better understand the psyches of the people who made them, or the messages tucked away in a director's earlier work that have startling, sometimes uncomfortable implications in light of recent real-world events? The following is a list of films and the people who made them, all of which that shed a little more light on their characters than perhaps even they know themselves...

15. Manhattan - Woody Allen

In Woody Allen's black and white 1979 masterpiece, his character Isaac is torn between two women: both have their charms, but one, Mary, is his best friend's mistress and the other, Tracy, is a seventeen-year-old girl. Yikes. You need only have glanced at news sites or Twitter in the past few months to have been aware of the allegations made against Allen by his former partner Mia Farrow and their daughter Dylan Farrow that he molested the latter as a child. Whether the allegations turn out to be true or not remains to be seen, but the director does have a history of both going for younger women and, for lack of a more tactful term, incest, as evidenced in his marriage to his former adopted daughter Soon-Yi. What's interesting about Manhattan in light of all this is that Isaac ends up deciding that he wants to be with Tracy after first dismissing her as too young and inexperienced, apparently deciding that the strength of his feelings toward her and the awkward mess of things that are made between him and other adults (Mary's too complex a figure for him, and his ex-wife is currently living with another woman and writing a memoir about their marriage) are good enough reason for the two of them to be together. Make of that what you will, but it certainly seems to say a lot that Allen believes that true love can be felt by a teenager and a middle-aged man...
Contributor

Film history obsessive, New Hollywood fetishist and comics evangelist.