Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Husbands and Wives (1992)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Husbands and Wives (1992)

In Woody Allen's last true masterpiece to date, famously-filmed during (and severely overshadowed by and paralleling) the real-life breakup of Allen's marriage to longtime companion/actress Farrow, and presented with interviews of the characters and some hand-held camera work:

  • the opening apartment scene of middle-aged married man Jack Simmons (Sydney Pollack) and his distraught, neurotic wife Sally's (Oscar-nominated Judy Davis) glib and calm announcement about their separation-divorce before dinner to couple Gabriel "Gabe" Roth (Woody Allen) and Judy (Mia Farrow): ("Jack and I are splitting up"), and then their insistences that it wasn't a big deal that they had grown apart: ("Don't turn this into a tragedy, OK, 'cause it's a very positive step for both of us")
  • the subsequent documentary-styled account of their marriages all crumbling (with new flings) following the news - complete with violently-panning handheld camera shots and jump-cutting
  • the disastrous new romances: Jack with younger, sexy yet ditzy 24 year-old blonde aerobics instructor Sam (Lysette Anthony) and Sally's relationship with romantic Irishman Michael Gates (Liam Neeson), one of Judy's co-worker colleagues
  • the relationship between professor Gabe and his bright, 20 year-old creative writing student Rain (Juliette Lewis) - and her (voice-over) reading of Gabe's sublimely-written manuscript about relationships and sex: ("...of course men would make love at any given moment with any number of women, while females were selective. They were in each case catering to the demands of only one small egg, while each male had millions and millions of frantic sperms screaming wildly 'Let us out! Let us out!'...")
Gabe with Student Rain
(Juliette Lewis)
Rain's Voice-Over Reading of Gabe's Manuscript
Rain's Assessment of Gabe's Book
  • during a car ride, Rain's honest assessment of Gabe's book, and her expression of some disappointment, causing him to feel defensive: ("I was a little disappointed, I guess, with, uh, some of your attitudes...The way your people just casually have affairs like that...Are our choices really between chronic dissatisfaction and suburban drudgery?....You have to be careful not to trivialize things like that (marriage)...The lead character's views on women is so retrograde, it's so shallow, you know?...Isn't it beneath you as a mature thinker, I mean, to allow your lead character to waste so much of his emotional energy obsessing over this psychotic relationship with a woman that you fantasize as powerfully sexual and inspired when in fact she was pitifully sick")
  • the sour, embarrassing party scene in which Jack (who just learned that Sally was dating Michael) became jealous and took it out, in an intense argument, with Sam; when he heard her speaking about her logical belief in astrology: ("Why wouldn't the position of the planets have an influence on our personalities?...Because, you know, the position of the planets, it's like, is crucial to your life"), he dragged her from a party after rudely berating her: ("If you don't know what the hell you're talkin' about, why don't you try not talking?...I'm sick of listening to your crap about soybeans and Zen foods, and the f--kin' Zodiac") - she screeched at him and begged for "Help!" (to deliberately embarrass him) when he tried to drag her to the car (twice!) - leading soon after to their breakup when he realized his mistake in leaving Sally: ("God damn it, I must have been out of my mind. You're crazy! Totally crazy!")
  • during an interview, Sally's brilliant "hedgehogs and foxes" internal, neurotic monologue about unromantic, frigid sex with Michael, when she was asked: "Why were you able to have an orgasm with Michael and not with your husband?...What makes it so difficult for you?" - Her response: "I didn't. I was trying very hard to go with it. I was tense. I came close...My mind just gets racing with thoughts. You'd laugh if I told you. I get so mentally hyperactive...I thought that I liked what Michael was doing to me, and it felt different from Jack. More gentle and more exciting. And I thought how different Michael was from Jack. How much deeper his vision of life was. And I thought Michael was a hedgehog and Jack was a fox. And then I thought Judy was a fox, and Gabe was a hedgehog. And I thought about all the people I knew, and which were hedgehogs, and which were foxes. Al Simon, a friend, was a hedgehog, and his wife Jenny was a hedgehog. And Cindy Salkind was a fox. And Lou Patrino was a hedgehog..."
  • the awkward scene when Jack returned home in an effort to reconcile with Sally, and he found Michael and Sally together in bed: (Jack: "This is my f--king house!" Sally: "No, this is MY f--king house!")
  • the breathtaking kiss between Gabe and Rain (on the occasion of her 21st birthday) during a rainstorm accompanied by thunder and lightning: (Gabe: "Do you want a kiss? I mean, do you want a real kiss?...You want an actual, professional kiss, right?...Both lips, upper and lower simultaneously?"), and Gabe's decision not to pursue a romantic relationship with his seductive student
  • the downbeat final interview with Gabe, now single, after Judy left him to marry Michael, and his musings about his life: ("I'm out of the race at the moment. I-I don't want to get involved with anybody. I-I don't want to hurt anyone. I don't want to get hurt. I just, you know, don't mind, you know, living by myself and working. You know, it's temporary. I mean, these feelings will pass and then I'll have the urge to get back into the swing of things. And that seems to be how it goes....I'm writing, I'm working on a, a novel, a new novel. Not the old one anymore, and, um - it's fine"), with his closing line to the interviewer: "Can I go? Is this over?"

Gabe Roth with Judy

Jack Simmons with Sally

Intense Argument Between Jack and His New Fling Sam

Sally's "Hedgehogs and Foxes" Monologue About Sex with Michael

Jack's Confrontation with Sally in His Home After Finding Her in Bed with Michael

Kiss Between Rain and Gabe

Gabe's Final Interview: "Can I go? Is this over?"


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z