A Rainy Day in New York Parent Guide
On top of all its other flaws, the most annoying part of this movie is that it isn't fun to watch.
Parent Movie Review
A Rainy Day in New York is billed as a romantic comedy but don’t let the label fool you. Laughs are few and far between and the only convincing romance is the one between Woody Allen and his hometown. The love stories in the script are as washed out as a rainy day in New York.
This disappointing movieopens with a romance between Gatsby, played by a languid Timothée Chalamet, and Ashleigh, played by Elle Fanning with a strangely flat vocal intonation. The two are undergrads at a liberal arts university where Ashleigh writes for the student paper. Gatsby spends his time away from class playing cards winning fabulous amounts of money. When Ashleigh has the chance to interview a famous director (Liev Schreiber), Gatsby proposes a romantic weekend in New York City. Flush from a $20,000 jackpot, he books a hotel suite overlooking Central Park and plans a glamorous NYC weekend. But fate intervenes and Gatsby’s hopes soon get derailed.
The biggest problem with this film is that it requires a massive suspension of disbelief. I couldn’t pull it off, and I’m a fan of fantasy movies. If a person who loves movies about other worlds and magical beings can’t swallow a rom-com plot, that’s a big flashing yellow light. Woody Allen expects viewers to believe that a gauche, incoherent 21 year old is going to become an object of inspiration, love, and lust for three different men – all in the course of a single chaotic day. The director insists that she is his muse and begs her to come with him to the South of France; the screenwriter professes his love for her; and a famous actor tries to bed her. Given that this film was made by a man who married his adoptive stepdaughter (and who has been accused of sexual abuse), scenes where older men try to charm or seduce a much younger woman take on an extra degree of creepiness.
Woody Allen’s personal life aside, the film fails on its own merits, or lack thereof. The screwball comedy plot, which should be amusing and effervescent, lands with a thud. (The only time I laughed out loud wasn’t at the studied jokes – it was at a ludicrous plot development.) Also not amusing are the negative content issues that pop up throughout the production. Alcohol and cigarettes are frequently seen and are used to help people cope with stress. There’s also some coarse sexual discussion and a scene where a man helps a woman strip down to her underwear, with sex as the obvious outcome. In addition, gambling gets a PR boost from the film. Selena Gomez’s character, Chan, says, “There’s something romantic about gamblers” and Gatsby muses about dropping out of school and moving to Las Vegas. This glamorization of a destructive and potentially addictive habit is not going to win plaudits from parents.
On top of these issues, the most annoying thing about A Rainy Day in New York is that it isn’t fun to watch. In fact, it’s so painfully tedious, I had to force myself to stay in my seat. The movie is stiff and pretentious and I was never able to forget that I was watching people deliver lines from a script. Despite the charm of the cast, the acting is studied and too many conversations feel fake. I couldn’t fall into the story – and if you can’t escape into a narrative, what’s the point of watching a movie?Directed by Woody Allen. Starring Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, and Liev Schreiber. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release November 10, 2020. Updated November 14, 2020
Watch the trailer for A Rainy Day in New York
A Rainy Day in New York
Rating & Content Info
Why is A Rainy Day in New York rated PG-13? A Rainy Day in New York is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for mature suggestive content, some drug use, smoking, language and partial nudity.
Violence: None noted.
Sexual Content: A man uses a simile to describe a girl as flat chested. A man and woman kiss. A woman tells a man she wants a hot kiss she can feel to her toes. There is mention of a teenager’s sexually adventurous past, including a sexual act we can’t describe on a family website. A man muses about having sexual acts used to celebrate Jewish religious holidays. A man mentions being impotent. A man suspects his wife is having an affair. There is a discussion about a couple who had sex in a public location. A man is approached by a prostitute and they negotiate a price. A man and woman kiss and he helps her undress; she’s seen in her bra and panties. A woman discusses her past history as a prostitute.
Profanity: There are just over 40 uses of profanity in the film, including almost two dozen terms of deity, seven scatological curses, and a dozen minor swear words.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A main character smokes cigarettes and mentions the health risks of his habit. A man pours alcohol in his coffee and drinks it. There is mention of a man having a drinking problem. There are frequent scenes of adults drinking on social occasions. A young woman gets tipsy and mentions that she is uninhibited when she has too much to drink. An upset man says he “needs” a drink and a cigarette; he also talks about “drowning his sorrows”. Two characters smoke marijuana.
Page last updated November 14, 2020
A Rainy Day in New York Parents' Guide
Why does Ashleigh lose control of her day? What strategies to men use to persuade her? How do you think she could have behaved differently? What would you have done in her situation?
Gatsby’s gambling is treated positively in the film. For more about the social and personal costs of gambling, see the following links.
Christian Science Monitor: Do benefits outweigh the social costs of casinos?
BBC: Problem gambling: Why do some people become addicted?
Mayo Clinic: Compulsive Gambling
Related home video titles:
For another Woody Allen romantic comedy featuring ambivalent lovers, you can watch Midnight in Paris.
Two students fall in love as they explore New York City in The Sun is Also a Star.