Helena’s increasing dependence upon Sally irritates Roy, and in the hope of diffusing tension, she introduces her mother to a chatty psychic Cristal (Pauline Collins). Her readings are not only less expensive than psychiatric consultations but also more effective in boosting Helena’s self-confidence.
Sally, disappointed by Roy’s failure to follow up a first novel, is resentful of his reliance upon her employment as an art gallery menial. Encouraged by a sycophantic friend to both see herself in the unlikely role of a gallery owner and as desired by her present boss, Greg (Antonio Banderas), Sally seeks financial backing and attempts to declare her love. Although diplomatically rejected by Greg, it seems that one of her dreams will be realised with Helena’s financial assistance.
When Roy’s long-awaited second novel is rejected he finds romantic compensation in his young neighbour, Dia (Freida Pinto), who is also looking for diversion. Dia enjoys the idea of being the wife of a well-known novelist and Roy, desirous of living up to this image, takes the opportunity to steal the unpublished novel of a friend whom he believes has died in a car accident. The novel is enthusiastically accepted. Will Roy’s star continue to rise?
Meanwhile, Alfie has married a young blonde former sex worker, Charmaine Foxx (Lucy Punch). With the aid of Viagra, and a new swish apartment, he lives the life he has dreamt of, as does Charmaine, since Alfie is prepared to lavish money upon her.
Maybe he can have the son he has apparently longed for?
However, it is not happiness the characters in Allen’s ensemble films have the right to but merely the pursuit of it. An entitlement to letting down others, to using others, to cheating others, in the pursuit of the dream of love/lust=happiness. Only Helena, converted to esotericism, finds happiness with Jonathon (Roger Ashton-Griffiths), proprietor of an occult bookshop, after he is given permission to remarry by his dead wife. Should we add – an entitlement to delusion?