The Power of Illusion- an essay about "The Purple Rose of Cairo"

Essay by Toy_321College, UndergraduateA-, January 2003

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The Power of Illusion

Many messages can be derived from Woody Allen's 1984 success, "Purple Rose of Cairo". It is easy to see that this is one of Allen's more subdued films, and for good reason. He is truly keeping with the 1930's code of moral decency by using overly tame ideas and actions throughout the movie. An example is when Tom challenges Gil to a fight and gets beaten up because he expects Gil to 'play fair'. This moral statement, although somewhat of a parody, shows us that it is possible to be brought into a totally different era (the 1930's) and genre (fantasy) and still have something to think about after having watched the movie.

The ending of the film is one that has come as a surprise and disappointment to many viewers. Cecilia is left abandoned by both Tom and Gil. It seems like a disappointment, but it leaves a very strong statement.

Allen is saying that the setting of his constant clichés is just a movie as well. He is taking us out of not just the romantic illusions he is deflating in the film within the film, but also this movie's romantic illusion to us. It's his moral reminder to us that no matter what expectations we might have of characters on a screen that happy endings don't always work out in real life. Although it is disappointing, it needs to be said.

"The Purple Rose of Cairo" is quite balanced with its messages. Allen deftly creates multiple themes and thoughts on film and its relation to reality without ever harming the story, but also makes the two work hand-in-hand. By having a reason for Tom to walk off the screen, he creates a fantastically leveled fable on life, and how film...