Whatever Works

July 1st, 2009


Whatever Works

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Still of Patricia Clarkson in Whatever WorksStill of Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood in Whatever WorksStill of Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood in Whatever WorksStill of Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood in Whatever WorksStill of Larry David in Whatever WorksStill of Evan Rachel Wood in Whatever Works

Attempting to impress his ideologies on religion, relationships, and the randomness (and worthlessness) of existence...

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 7.2/10 (29,112 voted)

Critic's Score: 45/100

Director: Woody Allen

Stars: Evan Rachel Wood, Larry David, Henry Cavill

Attempting to impress his ideologies on religion, relationships, and the randomness (and worthlessness) of existence, lifelong New York resident Boris Yellnikoff rants to anyone who will listen, including the audience. But when he begrudgingly allows naive Mississippi runaway Melodie St. Ann Celestine to live in his apartment, his reclusive rages give way to an unlikely friendship and Boris begins to mold the impressionable young girl's worldly views to match his own. When it comes to love, "whatever works" is his motto, but his already perplexed life complicates itself further when Melodie's parents eventually track her down.

Larry David - Boris
Adam Brooks - Boris' Friend
Lyle Kanouse - Boris' Friend
Michael McKean - Boris' Friend
Clifford Lee Dickson - Boy on Street
Yolonda Ross - Boy's Mother
Carolyn McCormick - Jessica
Samantha Bee - Chess Mother
Conleth Hill - Brockman
Marcia DeBonis - Lady at Chinese Restaurant
Evan Rachel Wood - Melody
John Gallagher Jr. - Perry
Willa Cuthrell-Tuttleman - Chess Girl (as Willa Cuthrell Tuttleman)
Nicole Patrick - Perry's Friend
Patricia Clarkson - Marietta


Official Website: Mars Distribution [France] | Official site [Japan] |

Release Date: 1 July 2009

Filming Locations: Chinatown, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $266,162 (USA) (21 June 2009) (9 Screens)

Gross: $5,305,622 (USA) (25 October 2009)

Technical Specs

Runtime: USA: (Tribeca Film Festival)  | Argentina:

Did You Know?

The role of Boris Yellnikoff was original written for Zero Mostel. After Mostel's death in 1977, Woody Allen set the screenplay aside. However, with a potential actor's strike during 2008-9, Allen chose this old screenplay to be his next film. Furthermore Zero Mostel and Larry David both played the role of Max Bialistock. Mostel in the original Producers and David in the play within a show representing the main story arc from season 4 of Curb your Enthusiasm.

Continuity: Near the beginning of the film, when Boris is talking with his wife Jessica, the position of Jessica's arms keeps changing from shot to shot.

[first lines]
Boris Yellnikoff: That's not what I'm saying, imbecile. You guys completely misrepresent my ideas, why would I even want to talk with those idiots.
Boris' Friend: Just calm down.
Boris' Friend: That's not true, Boris.
Boris Yellnikoff: No, don't tell me to calm down, I am calm. Just stop.
Boris' Friend: Don't jump on us just because we don't understand what you're saying.
Boris Yellnikoff: I didn't jump on you. It's not the idea behind Christianity I'm faulting, or Judaism, or any religion. It's the professionals who've made it into corporate business. There's big money in the god racket, big money.

User Review

See this movie and then read the external reviews

Rating: 9/10

I saw this movie in a packed cinema and the audience loved it to the extent that many applauded at the end. So I came home, looked it up in IMDb and read some of the review by professional film critics. What I found helps to explain why nobody reads papers anymore and why professional movie reviews are increasingly irrelevant. The critics drooled all over themselves for No Country for Old Man -- a ridiculous blood bath where the bad guy can see through walls, magically find people on the run, and kill repeatedly without raising much more that a mild interest from the local and state police. Yet many of these same critics think the characters in this new Woody Allen film aren't realistic. God save the film critics.

Back to the film. I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard at the movies, and I wasn't alone. It takes special talent to direct a movie that is so dependent on perfect comic timing to work, and the actors in this film hit their marks consistently. If there is character in this movie that shouldn't be the subject of study in an abnormal psychology class, I missed them.

If you care about intelligent movies for grown-ups, then you need to support movies like this one.


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