Directed By Woody Allen
Cinematography by Carlo Di Palma
Woody Allen takes the audience back to the era of his childhood in the early 1940s, a time when radio was arguably at the peak of its reign as a central fixture in American households. The film demonstrates this in a variety of ways. The radio becomes the means for members of a working class family (regardless of age) to find an escape and place to dream. Tales are also told of radio personalities at the time and different stories around the industry. This is all mixed with adolescent memories and a general retrospection of a transitional and formative period of America's history.
Although Manhattan and Annie Hall are often cited as the most popular and respected movies of Woody Allen's extensive catalog, Radio Days is the film that has really connected with me the most. The movie feels authentic and natural, even though it was made nearly half a century later than the time period it portrays. That also shows how well it's held up in the almost 20 years since it was made. Just as the radio serves as an escape for those in the film, the movie itself provides an escape. For the audience, that escape is right smack into the middle of this time period. Radio Days touches on World War II but doesn't need to go into details because it tells a different narrative - a more simple one - of a regular family in a regular New York neighborhood. There is not necessarily a big conclusion to reach at the end, but that serves as a point in itself. It is a portrait of this family, of this period, and that's all you need.