Melinda and Melinda (2004)


Melinda and Melinda (2004)

Al, Louise, Max and Sy - four literary types who work in the theater business - are discussing what they believe to be the real life truths underlying their work, Max who writes primarily tragic plays, and Sy who writes primarily comic plays. Al proceeds to tell them a real story of a troubled woman named Melinda Robicheaux showing up unexpectedly at a door in the middle of an important business dinner party. Melinda long ago left her physician husband to embark on a relationship with who she initially believed to be the man of her dreams, which ended up not being the case. Melinda tries to put her life back together with the help of select people at the dinner party, some who have their own ulterior motives. Melinda's appearance also opens up the cracks existing in the marriage of one of the couples at the dinner party, while it leads to the dissolution of a friendship that has existed since college. With this basic outline of a story, Max and Sy try to make their point of life being truly a tragedy or comedy on spinning Melinda's story with their own mindset.
IMDb   6.4 /10
Metacritic   54 %
TheMovieDb    6.3 /10
FilmAffinity   6.7 /10
Director Woody Allen
Writer Woody Allen
Release Date2005-04-07
Runtime1h 39min
GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
Content RatingPG-13 (PG-13)
CompanyFox Searchlight Pictures, Gravier Productions, LF Hungary Film Rights Exploitation
Hobieas Hobie
Stacey Foxas Stacey Fox
Ellis Moonsongas Ellis Moonsong
Melinda Robicheauxas Melinda Robicheaux
Man with Dogas Man with Dog
Laurelas Laurel
Jack Oliveras Jack Oliver
Sally Oliveras Sally Oliver
Cassieas Cassie
Peteras Peter
Susanas Susan

Melinda and Melinda

Melinda and Melinda is a 2004 American comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen. It premiered at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. The film is set in Manhattan and stars Radha Mitchell as the protagonist Melinda, in two storylines; one comic, one tragic. The film began a limited release in the United States on March 18, 2005.


The premise of the film is stated by a group of four writers conversing over dinner at the beginning of the film. The question arises: Is life naturally comic or tragic? One of the four proposes a simple story (a distraught woman knocks on a door and disrupts a dinner party) and the two prominent playwrights in the group begin telling their versions of this story, one being comic and one tragic.


  • Radha Mitchell as Melinda Robicheaux
  • Chloë Sevigny as Laurel
  • Jonny Lee Miller as Lee
  • Will Ferrell as Hobie
  • Amanda Peet as Susan
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Ellis Moonsong
  • Wallace Shawn as Sy
  • Josh Brolin as Greg Earlinger
  • Vinessa Shaw as Stacey Fox
  • Steve Carell as Walt
  • Arija Bareikis as Sally Oliver
  • Matt Servitto as Jack Oliver
  • Zak Orth as Peter
  • Brooke Smith as Cassie
  • Daniel Sunjata as Billy Wheeler
  • Larry Pine as Max
  • Andy Borowitz as Doug

Radha Mitchell plays Melinda in both versions. Chloë Sevigny, Jonny Lee Miller, and Chiwetel Ejiofor star with her in the tragedy, while Will Ferrell and Amanda Peet star with her in the comedy. Steve Carell has a small part as Ferrell's character's friend.


Woody Allen said in Conversations with Woody Allen that he wanted to cast Winona Ryder in the title role. He had to replace her with Radha Mitchell because no one would insure Ryder due to her arrest for shoplifting – this would have made it impossible to obtain a film completion bond. Allen stated he was sad because he had written the part for Ryder after working with her on Celebrity. In the same interview, he also claimed to have intended Ferrell's part for Robert Downey, Jr., but, again, insurance got in the way due to Downey's history of arrests and drug abuse.

The film also stars Wallace Shawn (alluding to his dinner-philosophy argument in My Dinner with Andre) as the comic playwright, Larry Pine as the tragedian, and Brooke Smith as Cassie. All three had appeared in the 1994 film Vanya on 42nd Street, directed by Louis Malle.

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes lists a 51% positive score, based on 144 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 54 out of 100, based on 40 reviews. Leonard Maltin gave the film two stars, calling it "meandering,” with "echoes... of earlier, better Allen movies".

Box office

Melinda and Melinda opened on March 18, 2005, in one New York City cinema, where it grossed $74,238 in its first three days, the 21st highest limited release opening in American history. In weekend two, it expanded to 95 theatres to gross $740,618, seeing its per screen average drop to $7,795.

Overseas, it grossed an additional $16,259,545, bringing its worldwide total to $20,085,825.