Typical Woody Allen film, featuring his never ending aversion towards high-class fatuity and random pokes at "industrialized" creative scene. However debated, elements of fantasy fit very well, uplifting the atmosphere and generating somewhat surrealistic plot. Basically, 80's Woody could, even when filming something he once scribbled and forgot in a bottom drawer, compose an above-average romantic comedy.
I have a particular fondness for the films Allen directed during that period. They are like contemporary fairy tales, highly sensitive and imaginative. And perhaps Mia Farrow was a perfect alter ego, as she brings vulnerability, a child-like quality to her acting, and makes us believe in magic (and the magic of cinema). I haven't seen the film since then, but I bear fond memory of that film.
Almost all of Allen's films have great potential: "Alice", for example, could have been either a "Brief Encounter"-like character study or a charming, fantasy-driven comedy. Somehow, the fact that it's trying to be both is what ruins it for me. I won't say it's a bad film, but it is unbalanced and underdeveloped, with Alice's moral revelation feeling especially tacked on.
Probably more of a 2 1/2 out of 5 star rating but rounding up to 3 only because its Woody Allen. I watched this 2 weeks ago and can't remember anything remarkable about it, except for the fact heard Thelonious Monk after the halfway mark. A decent cast but when trying to decide if I liked Alice or not, the generic ending Allen has used numerous times before sort of made my mind up for me.
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.