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Alice [DVD]

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Alec Baldwin, Blythe Danner, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Marceline Hugot
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Robert Greenhut
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Danish, Dutch, English, French, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
  • Dubbed: French, German, Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Feb. 2002
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005V8UM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,321 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Manhattan housewife Alice Tate seems to have it all but for Alice, there's still something missing. Alice begins a remarkable journey where she comes face to face with her real needs, her desires, her limits and her gifts.

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Critics greeted Woody Allen's 1990 opus Alice with sighs of resignation. Here was yet another of Allen's bemused heroines-at-a-crossroads/crisis, falling prey to all kinds of temptation and fantasy and emerging at the other end a more complete, fulfilled or at least self-aware human being. But, though it's a minor work by his highest standards, it has weathered rather well. This is a softer exploration of territory Allen had previously covered rather more intensely and seriously in Another Woman (1988). It's often very funny and ultimately affirms one of Allen's most persistent themes: however confused you think you are, the answer probably lies somewhere inside you rather than in anybody else.

As Alice, Mia Farrow gives one of her most versatile and unmannered performances, revealing a real gift for comedy. However bitter the breakdown of her long personal relationship with Allen, there is no doubt that he took her to new professional heights in their cinematic collaborations. At the start, Alice is little more than a well-heeled housewife and mother, a lady who lunches with bitchy friends. Her dissatisfaction with her marriage (to patronising rich guy William Hurt) leads her into the path of Chinese herbalist Dr Yang, whose potions set her off on a series of experiences which include the affair she has been considering, becoming invisible (cue some great gags, especially one involving a New York cab) and a brief flirtation with opium (here Allen's trademark soundtrack of old standards includes the evocative "Limehouse Blues"). There's also some great dialogue. "He's very deep," says Farrow of her putative lover (Joe Mantegna). "Yeah, and very deep is where he wants to put it", cracks back her visiting muse (a glittering cameo from Bernadette Peters).

On the DVD: Presented in widescreen (1.85:1) format with a Dolby Digital stereo soundtrack, Alice on DVD replicates the hallmark intimacy of Allen's films in the cinema with good picture and lush sound quality (the importance of his romantic, referential musical choices should never be underestimated). There are no extras, apart from the original theatrical trailer. --Piers Ford

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4.4 out of 5 stars
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By Call me Al TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 July 2017
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Woody Allen’s 1990 movie is an entertaining diversion where Mia Farrow plays the eponymous heroine living a privileged New York life, whose friends recommend a visit to the dingy Chinatown office of the enigmatic acupuncturist and healer Dr. Yang when her persistent backache fails to respond to more orthodox treatments. Dr. Yang diagnoses that the causes of these pains are not physical but psychological in nature and prescribes a course of “erbs” which lead to a succession of surreal incidents as Alice plunges into her own psychoanalytical looking glass emerging on the other side a more self-aware, happier and pain free individual. These incidents have the unmistakable stamp of the director’s preoccupations and humour and involve love potions, hallucinations, ghosts and invisibility, and with a marvelously distinctive Allen-esque jazz soundtrack this whimsical meditation on life's meaning and purpose is well worth seeking out, despite the rather truncated final act.
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This film is not generally considered one of Woody Allen's best, yet there is much to admire and I think it is unfairly overlooked. The film features the usual Manhattan wealthy types with too much time and money on their hands, and the focus is on the titular Alice played by his then muse Mia Farrow. In what is one of her best performances in a Woody Allen film, she plays a bored housewife looking to change her life but not quite sure how to do it, and lacking the courage to make changes. The film takes on a the appearance of a fable and has an at times magical quality as it takes us on her journey and has great charm to it. Sure it is not in the league of Hannah, Manhattan, Annie, or some of the other classic, but is very good all the same and well worth a look.
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A woody classic
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Great performances in a fantasy tale with bouts of Allen's surreal humour in a tale of a confused and cheated bourgeois wife who turns to a Chinese herbalist for help,
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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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By KG TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 July 2010
Format: 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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By Sebastian Palmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Feb. 2014
Format: 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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