Irrational Man (film)

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Irrational Man
File:Irrational Man (film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Woody Allen
Produced by
Written by Woody Allen
Cinematography Darius Khondji
Edited by Alisa Lepselter
  • Gravier Productions
  • Perdido Productions
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release dates
  • May 16, 2015 (2015-05-16) (Cannes)
  • July 17, 2015 (2015-07-17) (United States)
Running time
95 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $27.4 million[2]

Irrational Man is a 2015 American mystery drama film written and directed by Woody Allen, and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey and Jamie Blackley.

The film was released on July 17, 2015 by Sony Pictures Classics in a limited release, later expanding wider. The film was Jack Rollins' final production before his death in June 2015, having produced Allen's films since the 1970s.[3]


At the small-town fictional New England college campus of Braylin, philosophy professor Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) finds himself in an existential crisis, but he eventually discovers a new purpose in life when he enters into a relationship with Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), one of his students. Jill's boyfriend Roy (Jamie Blackley) gets fed up with Jill's talking about Abe all the time and reluctantly breaks up with her.

At lunch, Abe and Jill overhear a conversation; a woman says she will lose her children in a custody fight because of a seemingly unethical judge in family court. Abe is troubled by the injustice and, without telling Jill, decides to help the woman by murdering the judge—since he is not related to the case he would not be suspected. Abe steals from colleague Rita (Parker Posey), with whom he has sometimes had sex, a key to the college's science lab, where he steals cyanide. He finds out that the judge jogs daily and drinks a cup of juice on a park bench afterwards. Abe puts the poison in an identical cup and exchanges the cups surreptitiously on the bench. The judge dies as expected from cyanide poisoning.

Jill and Rita begin to discover clues to Abe's involvement, such as the missing key and Abe being seen in the lab. Although she is in love with him, Jill breaks into Abe's house and finds incriminating notes. Rita decides that even if he is guilty she wants to divorce her husband and go live abroad with Abe.

After Jill confronts him, Abe confesses to her. She decides to break off their relationship, but promises not to turn him in. However, after an innocent person becomes accused of the crime, she presses Abe to go to the police, warning him that otherwise she will report him. Abe, who has only recently started enjoying life, is determined not to lose that again by imprisonment or suicide. He attempts to kill Jill by pushing her into an elevator shaft he has rigged, but he slips and falls down the shaft to his death, leaving Jill to try to repair her own life.



On May 2, 2014, it was announced that Woody Allen would write and direct an upcoming film in which Joaquin Phoenix would star.[4] On May 6, Emma Stone joined the cast, marking her second film collaboration with Allen, as she previously co-starred in Allen's romantic comedy Magic in the Moonlight in 2014.[5] On July 24, Parker Posey and Jamie Blackley also joined the cast of the film, which Allen produced along with Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum.[6] On January 29, 2015, Sony Pictures Classics acquired the distribution rights to the film and revealed the title to be Irrational Man.[7]


Principal photography began on July 7, 2014 in Newport, Rhode Island, and lasted until the end of August.[8] Crews were spotted filming outside at The Fastnet Pub in Newport.[9][10]


On January 29, 2015, it was announced Sony Pictures Classics had acquired all distribution rights to the film, marking it the eighth Woody Allen film to be released by Classics.[11] The film had its world premiere on May 16, 2015, at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[12] The film began a limited release on July 17, 2015,[13] and later a wide release on August 7, 2015.[14]


The film's first trailer was released on April 29, 2015.[15]


Irrational Man received mixed reviews from critics. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 44% approval rating, based on 176 reviews, with a rating average of 5.4/10. The site's consensus reads, "Irrational Man may prove rewarding for the most ardent Joaquin Phoenix fans or Woody Allen apologists, but all others most likely need not apply."[16] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 53 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[17]


  1. "IRRATIONAL MAN (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. August 10, 2015. Retrieved August 11, 2015. 
  2. "Irrational Man (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 12, 2016. 
  3. Jeremy Gerard. "Jack Rollins, Producer Who Made Woody Allen & Letterman Laugh, Dies At 100". 
  4. Fleming Jr, Mike (May 2, 2014). "Joaquin Phoenix Set For Starring Role In Next Woody Allen Movie". Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  5. Kroll, Justin (May 6, 2014). "Emma Stone Joins Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's Next Film". Variety. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  6. Kroll, Justin (July 24, 2014). "Parker Posey and Jamie Blackley Join Woody Allen’s Next Film". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  7. McNary, Dave (January 29, 2015). "Sony Classics Buys Woody Allen's Irrational Man for North America". Variety. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
  8. "Woody Allen Film in RI Begins Production". July 7, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  9. Squires, Frieda (July 7, 2014). "Woody Allen project filming in Newport". The Providence Journal. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  10. Goldstein, Meredith; Shanahan, Mark (July 8, 2014). "Emma Stone stays in Rhode Island for Woody Allen film". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  11. Dave McNary. "Sony Classics Buys Woody Allen’s ‘Irrational Man’ for North America". Variety. 
  12. Scott Foundas (2015-05-06). "Irrational Man Review: Woody And Joaquin Plot The Perfect Murder". Variety. Retrieved 2015-05-18. 
  13. Maane Khatchatourian (2015-04-11). "Emma Stone in Woody Allen's Irrational Man". Variety. Retrieved 2015-05-18. 
  14. Brian Brooks. "'Mr. Holmes' Dominates, 'Irrational Man' Debut Solid: Specialty B.O.". 
  15. Alexandra Sifferlin (2015-04-29). "Watch the Trailer for Woody Allen Film, Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix". Time. Retrieved 2015-05-18. 
  16. "Irrational Man". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  17. "Irrational Man reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 10, 2015. 

External links