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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dose of magical-realism from Woody Allen.
Alice, the film, has much to recommend it. A great performance from Mia Farrow, some very fun and very funny episodes and an unlikely streak of magical-realism courtesy of a miraculous mandarin.

At first I was resistant, finding myself bored with the cliche Allen vocabulary and set-up amongst the bored, spoiled rich people of Manhattan, but this quickly passed...
Published on 11 Jan. 2011 by Philoctetes

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Middling Allen Offering
Woody Allen's 1990 film Alice, for me, fits into that category of this master director's work that I would call 'middling'. Having a number of things to commend it, but also using themes and ideas that Allen has developed more successfully elsewhere, Alice probably fails for me primarily because of a, for the most part, (relatively) pedestrian and uninspired script...
Published on 9 July 2012 by Keith M


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dose of magical-realism from Woody Allen., 11 Jan. 2011
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Alice [DVD] (DVD)
Alice, the film, has much to recommend it. A great performance from Mia Farrow, some very fun and very funny episodes and an unlikely streak of magical-realism courtesy of a miraculous mandarin.

At first I was resistant, finding myself bored with the cliche Allen vocabulary and set-up amongst the bored, spoiled rich people of Manhattan, but this quickly passed as Alice's visit to a Chinese doctor dispensed with the physical complaint and moved into psychology. Her pursuit of greater understanding of her life and her history is often very insightful but just occasionally a tad dull. The elements of fantasy help a great deal, and there are some very nice jokes, but I felt, for example, the richness of Joe Mantegna's voice going begging with the lacklustre script given to him. Only the potion episode gives him a chance to light up.

One cannot fail to be impressed, again and again, by Allen's ability to capture believeable conversations, especially between women. But? The love affair, the talk of passion and wild abandon: that's a problem. It never materializes. Things never heat up. the closest we get is a terrific moment where Alice is transformed into a vamp intent on seducing the man she's attracted to.

It's better than Another Woman, and is well worth seeing for Mia Farrow's performance. William Hurt plays the conceited husband with aplomb, but I felt at that stage of his career he deserved better. The man who plays Dr Yang is excellent.

Very good, but not great.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Allen film that grew on me, 2 July 2010
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice [DVD] (DVD)
While I still don't flat out love this film, I liked it much more on a second viewing. While my original problem with it - thematically it's in some ways a weaker, less original re-make of `Purple Rose of Cairo' still stands, I found myself charmed, caught up and moved, off-setting those moments that are clunkier, too cute, or even borderline racist in their stereotypes. It will never be my favorite Allen film, but it's certainly still a strong effort and Mia Farrow may never have been better. There's enough movie magic here, that it's certainly worth seeing, and for myself, owning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woody Allen and therapy, 24 Dec. 2013
By 
L. Fabrice "flycz" (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice [DVD] [1990] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I believe this is Woody Allen last movie with Mia Farrow. He's not playing in. She delivers a first class performance of a New York socialite who finds her life empty and complete deceit. The tone is light and playful and pokes fun at each character. The therapist, who helps her see the world in and around her, is a Chinese doctor using all kinds of techniques from hypnosis to Chinese herbs. Therapy is an enchantment in this film and works. Woody's later films have a much more pessimist view on therapy (A Tall Dark Stranger for instance). In retrospect, the film is now a great classic for Woody Allen's fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Woody in Magic Realist mode, 16 Feb. 2014
By 
Sebastian Palmer "sebuteo" (Cambridge, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice [DVD] (DVD)
As another reviewer has noted, this is Allen doing a kind of magic realism. In fact he's done this sort of thing loads over the years, from the appearances of 'Bogey' in Play It Again, Sam, to the emergence of Jeff Daniels' Tom Baxter character from the screen in The Purple Rose Of Cairo. Allen has used hypnosis as a kind of trope of this type in various films, from Zelig to The Curse Of the Jade Scorpion. Here he goes, in an almost Gilbert and Sullivan style, for the 'magic' of Chinese herbal medicine. Some criticise various aspects of this film, but I find it utterly charming. Farrow is great, as are Hurt and Baldwin. There's plenty of wit, and I find the dreamy atmosphere that suffuses the whole thing completely seductive.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Middling Allen Offering, 9 July 2012
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice [DVD] (DVD)
Woody Allen's 1990 film Alice, for me, fits into that category of this master director's work that I would call 'middling'. Having a number of things to commend it, but also using themes and ideas that Allen has developed more successfully elsewhere, Alice probably fails for me primarily because of a, for the most part, (relatively) pedestrian and uninspired script.

For the film Allen again casts Mia Farrow in the lead female (and title) role, and, as the film progresses (and Alice becomes imbued with supernatural powers) it becomes clear that the title is probably taken from Lewis Carroll's famous literary creation. Set in Allen's familiar territory of upmarket Manhattan, Alice is married to wealthy Doug (William Hurt) and is part of a society served by maids, in-house cooks and masseuses, and obsessed with all things natural ('They have no more free range chickens') and god-given ('We could talk about a kindergarten that would give him the best chance of getting into an Ivy League college'). The main thread of the story emerges as Alice, bored with her privileged way of life, on a whim visits a mysterious Chinese herbalist, Dr Yang (Keye Luke) for advice with a back problem. The hypnosis and various herbal remedies dished out by Dr Yang give Alice an amazing boost of self-confidence (together with having supernatural effects such as the ability of becoming invisible), thereby allowing Alice to finally initiate a potential affair with fellow parent, Joe Ruffalo (Joe Mantegna).

Whilst Alice has some great set-piece scenes and some trademark funny moments of dialogue, for me, these are relatively few and far between, and the key ideas behind the film, elements of fantasy and duplicitous personal relationships have been done more compellingly in other Allen films (The Purple Rose Of Cairo for the former, and films such as Another Woman and Hannah And Her Sisters for the latter). There are, however, a number of plus points. Mia Farrow is typically good as the (initially) shy and retiring Alice, as is Allen-regular Blythe Danner as Alice's sister, Dorothy. Similarly, Mantegna turns in a solid performance, but is outshone by Judy Davis as his recently separated wife (Davis' performance is something of a foretaste of her great turn in Allen's Husband And Wives, made two years later). Cybil Shepherd also appears as TV producer Nancy Brill, who repeatedly rejects the ideas that Alice (who has had the bright idea of becoming a writer) puts forward, on the basis that they are not sensational (sexy) enough - in what is probably an Allen comment on Hollywood generally.

For me, the fantasy elements don't work that well and are probably overdone, for example Alec Baldwin repeatedly appearing as one of Alice's past lovers. However, Allen does cleverly use Alice's power of invisibility to eventually backfire on her (as she discovers her husbands' infidelities) and, in another fantasy sequence, Bernadette Peters puts in a great little cameo appearance as Alice's straight-talking muse. My favourite scene, however, is that towards the end of the film where one of Dr Yang's potions has found its way inadvertently into the egg-nog ('I thought it was nutmeg') at one of Dorothy's parties, leading to a whole series of men propositioning Alice - this is Allen back to his best.

A mixed affair, therefore, but, as with all (or very nearly all) Allen's work, worth seeing for the plus points above.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Woody Allen film, 28 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Alice [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of Woody Allens films that are not
so famous. It is both funny, intruguing and
thought provoking. Mia Farrow is great as usual,
playing the lead role. I enjoyed watching this film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Alice [DVD] (DVD)
brilliant !
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LITTLE KNOWN WOODY ALLEN GEM, 23 Jun. 2012
By 
Mr. E. A. Dobson "dwardstings" (West Yorkshire,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice [DVD] (DVD)
Firstly i`m not a huge admirer of Mia Farrow,with the exception of Rosemary`s Baby i don`t think she`s a great actress & i certainly never found her attractive.I am however a huge fan of Woody Allen movies,most of which i`ve now seen at least once.Mia always plays a very similar part in his films and this is no different,so why did i like this film? Well this is the second time i`ve seen this,the first being over a decade ago & this time i didn`t expect much & was rewarded with not one of his best films by along way but a nice little fantasy.The supporting cast as you`d expect is excellent and as for Mia,i think i`ve found a small admiration for her,she is now perfectly acceptable in the films she made with Woody,that`s not to say this is the best they`ve made together but i still have the dvd & think i may even give it a third go someday.Rating wise it`s perhaps closer to 3 1/2 stars but i didn`t like seeing it`s overall rating below 4 stars!
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