Woody Allen’s character study of a well-kept, upscale Manhattan woman (Mia Farrow) takes the title character on a journey through a Wonderland of her own making, in which she learns some truths about herself, her relationships, and the universe in general. Alice leads a comfortable life, except for some nagging aches and pains, but when she visits the mysterious Dr. Yang (Keye Luke), he discovers that what really ails Alice is her own lack of true human experience. Alice has been married for sixteen years to Doug (William Hurt), an emotionally detached stockbroker, and she lives a perfectly maintained life in a perfectly maintained apartment, with a pair of children and the requisite support staff. All that changes when a chance meeting with a neighbor (Joe Mantegna) leads Alice to consider an affair. Dr. Yang, seizing the opportunity, gives Alice herbal potions that make her both invisible and seductive, allowing her to free herself from her inhibitions. Plunging into her new fantasy world, Alice ultimately comes to terms with her family, her husband, and her life. –MSN Movies
Actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright Woody Allen redefined film comedy during the 1970s, bringing a new measure of sophistication and personal complexity to the form. Born Allen Stewart Konigsberg in Brooklyn, NY, on December 1, 1935, he adopted his stage name at the age of 17, and in 1953 enrolled in NYU’s film program, and soon dropping out of school to begin writing for comedian David Alber. Two years later, Allen graduated to writing for television; during his five-year in television, his efforts won him an Emmy nomination. He eventually decided to try his hand as a stand-up performer. After slowly gaining a reputation on the New York-club circuit, he became a frequent talk show guest and in 1964 issued his self-titled debut comedy LP. With 1966’s What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, a puckish re-tooling of a Japanese spy thriller complete with his own story line and dubbed English dialogue, he made his directorial debut. In 1969 Allen directed two short films for a CBS television special… read more
If anything, Alice is like a late coming-of-age movie: she leaves her childhood memories and previous convictions behind in order to inhibit the desires of life and her very own ambitions. It is Mia Farrow's ability to potray such a naive yet cute character that the film holds itself together. I thoroughly enjoyed Keye Young's performance as Dr. Yang and William Hurt plays an upper-class windbag with style.
After watching Alice and Another Woman, I am starting to think that the end of the 80s served as a turning point or crisis for Woody Allen. Alice is a film that is imaginative but true to what upper society acts on--program and structure. Alice finds herself lost in a hole, figuratively, and through means finds herself and breaks from the class/structure she found herself stuck in. Imaginative and unique.
Among Woody Allen’s talents his versatility is seldom commented on. Praise for his adaptability to fantasy is even rarer, his outputs in the realm being lumped into that increasingly broad pile known… read review