Joan Didion on Woody Allen

November 23, 2010 | 3

The New York Review of Books posts a vintage essay by Joan Didion on the films of Woody Allen: “This notion of oneself as a kind of continuing career—something to work at, work on, ‘make an effort’ for and subject to an hour a day of emotional Nautilus training, all in the interests not of attaining grace but of improving one’s ‘relationships’—is fairly recent in the world, at least in the world not inhabited entirely by adolescents. In fact the paradigm for the action in these recent Woody Allen movies is high school.”

is an associate editor for The Millions. She works for the New York Civil Liberties Union, the NY Chapter of the ACLU. She was formerly a writer for The Atlantic's news website The Wire, and a co-editor of NY media blog FishbowlNY. Her writing has appeared in The Millions,, Newsday, National Journal, The Rumpus, and elsewhere, and is partly collected at her website, Follow @ujalasehgal.


  1. great essay!

    i love woody allen movies, yet seriously agree with what didion is putting forward here.

    even today, most new yorkers, are mostly caught up with analysts, relationships, and where they can get the best bottle service.

  2. I don’t know – I read the whole essay and she seems to think his characters’ focus on their own psyches and relationships is “self-absorbed.” Isn’t this the woman who wrote a whole book about her husband’s and daughter’s deaths and how they impacted her psyche? Seems Joan has jumped on the Woody train after all. Perhaps he was on to something before she was ready for it.

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