Abe Lucas, (Joaquin Phoenix), accepts a job at a picturesque collages campus to much anticipation by both staff and students. His accepted brilliance shines through in the classroom and the students are rapt with his lectures, however after being shown snippet of his private life, it is clear he emulates self-destructive behaviours.
Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone - Credit: Sony Classics
That is until he means Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), one of his students. He is initially hesitant to become friends with this enthusiastic young woman but over time they become very close. During their emerging friendship they experience a seemingly insignificant moment that Jill is able to brush off, but it affects Abe deeply. This single moment allows him to find meaning in his life once more.
Emma Stone and Parker Posey (who played another faculty member), as well as the supporting cast, were all captivating, however it was Joaquin Phoenix who stood out on the screen. Phoenix basically played two characters in the film, the downtrodden professor and the born-again man full of life, both of which he seamlessly transformed into when needed.
Woody Allen's dramatic dialogue had a number of small jokes woven throughout, which meant little fits of giggles were sporadically heard throughout the dark cinema.
Irrational Man was a thoroughly enjoyable drama and whilst it ended rather suddenly, it is certainly not in a way you can predict.