I was very disappointed with this film. Slow almost to the point of being unwatchable, with a superficial plot and sparse unilluminating dialogue. The themes, such as they are, are all typical Wenders: the corrosive effect of ubiquitous American consumerism, the 'personal existential quest' and the question of how to live authentically, reality and illusion this time through the medium of photography, angst, alienation and post-modernity - I could go on but you get the idea.
Ok, some of the shots and scenes are interesting and memorable but they cannot rescue what is ultimately an empty and deeply unsatisfying meander from nowhere to nothing. I lost faith in the film at the point where Alice's mother disappears and allows her daughter to return to Holland with a man she has met for a few hours, knows almost nothing about and, for all she knows, could be a psychopathic serial killer. She leaves a note for him 'I have to leave you with Alice as I must return to my distraught lover, I will see you in Amsterdam soon', or words to that effect. Oh yeh, a mother is really going to do that with her eight-year old daughter! A preposterous premise for a pretentious, self indulgent and ultimately vacuous film.
The only redeeming thing to say is that this is from the director that went on to make Kings of the Road (which is also overlong but far more substantial and edifying) and Wings of Desire. Also Alice herself is wonderful and the sweetest little girl you could imagine. But one cute little Alice does not make a summer.