While Woody Allen teased with autobiography in Manhattan and Annie Hall he drops all pretense here. No effort is made to pretend that his character of Sandy Bates is anybody but Allen himself – a filmmaker first adored for wacky comedies, then gradually appreciated as a cinematic genius.
But Bates-Allen thinks those who like his early comedies more than his later ‘deeper’ pictures are buffoons; he thinks those who try to sift through the meaning of his later works are intellectual lamebrains and he makes clear that any attempt to analyze Stardust Memories itself would be the height of pompous pretension.
Though there are laughs along the way, this is a truly mean-spirited picture. Once a sympathetic nebbish, Allen here sees himself as a put-upon, embittered genius, disdainful of everything around him.