For 16 years, Alice Tate (Farrow) has been ignored by her husband (Hurt), spoiled by wealth, and tranquilized by boredom. But when she unexpectedly falls for a sexy musician (Mantegna) and impulsively consults a mysterious... more » Chinese herbalist for advice, Alice begins a madcap journey into a strange new world of possibilities. But as she begins to realize who she is and what she values, Alice must also confront her deepest fears and decide how far she'll go for love and what she'll risk to change her destiny.« less
PARABLE FOR OUR PRESENT FREE MARKET MATERIALIST AGE: WEALTH
C. Scanlon | among us humans | 04/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The US media cannot see it and thus will not tell you:
There is no joy in material wealth, only in absolute renunciation of wealth to give oneself to others in Love.
This is Allen's most well developed film technically with its stunning sets and exquisite cinematography, both by the best in the business of that time. The actors as well, from the briefest walk-on are top notch, and thus the New York review considers wasted. Not so; they are used exquisitely in perfect measure, and had no more to say. Brevity is the soul of wit, and their brief appearances merit another viewing. In fact for every reason this film demands another viewing, repeatedly.
In this film we find not only Allen's cinematic technical and directorial prowess on best display, but also his writing, which is profound and deeply moral and true and must be seen once more. There are two aspects to this writing, form and content. Like a modern novel, a form with which since Love and Death Allen has always wrestled, this film teaches you how to view itself. Like James Joyce's Ulysses (Gabler Edition), we are taught how to watch this film, and thus rewarded in further viewings. A professor here tells us how we read the voices in novels as interior monologues and ruminations whereas in film we see exterior speech to often devoid of the interior life.
This film is all about the interior life of the eternal soul as opposed to idle materialist empty orgies. We need that professor's indication to understand how to see this film, which begins with an interior musing over breakfast. See it again. The unsophisticated viewer might lose track of all which is going on; it took me several viewings, well rewarded to follow the thread all the way through, knowing there is still so much more to see.
The classical allusions in themselves are fascinating and deserving of a doctoral thesis. For instance the Baldwin brother appearance as a deceased first beau, perfectly played, resonantes with Joyce's the Dead in which another husband competes with a lost loved one. The hilarious scene in which a love potion mistakenly placed as nutmeg in the Christmas eggnog causes strangers to fall hopelessly in love with Alice reminds us of Romance of Tristan & Iseult as well as intriguing insight on the fatal and annoying aspects of celebrity in which perfect strangers fall confusedly and eternally in love with a cinematic fictional representation. One feels here that Allen and Farrow are making a true comment about strangers and other fans at Manhattan cocktail parties swearing their undying allegiance based on personal reaction to their anonymous art.
I had long thought the best Woody Allen films were his collaborations with Ms. Farrow; I had long thought that Broadway Danny Rose was their finest film, with its true moral and lesson for life: Forgiveness, Acceptance and Love. This film beats it in every way, and thus most other US cinema as well. Woody Allen appears on the Vatican's list of 100 best movies; I cannot recall if this is one, but it ought to be.
In fact comparing the two films, Danny Rose and ALice, we see the full range of Farrow's powers as an actress. There she plays a gun moll; here she is a perfect representation of a young lady who had spent years among the nuns, who had even entered the novitiate. Her every mannerism and her constantly polite and demure expression are exact, nearly painfully correct and essential to the power of this drama. See it again. Does she not remind you of people you knew?
And her representation of the emotionally devastating effects of adultery and its banal, destructive emptiness is true to life, something Hollywood never tells us. Cybill Shepherd guiding her to saleable stories ("no nuns") refelcts this as explicitly as the professor's lesson in voices.
Please see this movie. Without revealing any spoilers, let us simply say that Mother Theresa of Calcutta wins. See this film."
Woody Allen Does "Magic Realism"
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 07/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was made in the 1989-1990 period. Woody Allen was already an experienced film director and actor. Stas Mia Farrow in the title role of Alice, and Joe Montegna as the lover. Woody Allen does not appear in this film as he is only a director but there is a load of cameos from stars such as Cybil Shepherd and Bernadette Peters in the comedic role of the Muse. Woody Allen's intellectual/philosophical, life affirming comedies have always been effective and successful- Annie Hall, Zellig, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Hannah and Her Sisters, etc. Alice is a modern day and more adult version of "Alice In Wonderland" where it gets its name. Alice is a seemingly happy, married woman living in Manhattan, New York City. The illusion of happiness soon wears off as she discovers her husband, a stockbrocker, played by William Hurt, is cheating on her. Soon enough, she is cheating on him with Joe Montegna's character, a saxophone jazz musician.The reality of this film, which lies in the complicated adult affairs, including marital infidelity, and the urban scenes of New York City, are contrasted but mingled effectively with the "magic" that is dominant in the film. Alice is consulting a spiritual Oriental doctor who gives her all sorts of herbs and potions, including one which renders her invisable. The scene in which she and Joe Montegna are invisible in the women's clothes store is hilarious. Joe Montegna sneaks into a fitting room to spy on a model dressing. "There's a lot of heavy breathing coming from in here" says the model. Meanwhile Alice overhears her friends talking about her behind her back. Ultimately, Alice must make a choice. She has the cure for her problem. A love potion. But will she select her husband or her lover ? Her decision is unexpected and maybe even a bit off-putting to some viewers who would have preferred she remain in the realm of humans and romantic affairs and materialism. The movie had been going this way until the decision which is to reject worldliness and Mia Farrow is inspired by the humanitarian and noble work of Mother Teresa. I feel that it's at least true to Mia Farrow's real life nature. She is notorious for adopting many foreign children from war-torn and poverty stricken countries. This movie is still very good and I really enjoyed it. The witty script by Woody Allen and his position as director and Mia Farrow's husband is also very effectiive. It's a great film by a master of comedy that makes you think. If only this movie was available on DVD here."
Alice with the champagne glass
Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 04/27/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Woody Allen's attempt at light comedy after the heaviness of Crimes and Misdemeanors only comes alive sporadically, when he exercises the Wonderland associations of his title character. As a wealthy socialite with a back problem, Mia Farrow consults a Chinese acupuncturist who feeds her herbs which have varying results. Farrow's appearance as if she were Joan Crawford is jarring, and the falseness of the environment is also represented by the museum-like apartment all in yellow which she shares with William Hurt, and her servants. One can detect things Allen may have picked from his association with Farrow - his description of her mother as a "third rate" actress, and Alice's admiration for Mother Theresa, but though her talkativenss is meant to be comic (occasionally she reminded me of Judy Garland circa MGM), it comes across as wearisome, though Farrow never appears as arrogant at Allen sometimes has - she's not really the judgmental type. Her best scene involves her transformation from Allen's stammering doppel-ganger to femme fatale in a seduction of Joe Mantegna. The tone of these kind of scenes are introduced by the use of music on the soundtrack- Limehouse Blues, which of course relates to the acupuncturist, and La Cumparsita, which sounds similar to The Pajama Game's Hernando's Hideaway. Allen scores laughs from Farrow being invisible, where a phone receiver is seen dangling in mid air, and with a love potion that is misused at a party and she is swamped by admirers. He also tries for some visual effects with Alex Baldwin as a half visible ghost from Farrow's past and Mantegna and Judy Davis making love in front of video screens, and though a flying sequence is less effective, he does use vocal memory when Farrow and Balwin dance together. There are two instances where the memory effects are distinctly theatrical, with lighting changes and houselights present. Allen also includes a lot of anti-Catholic jokes, as if to make a nice change from his self-referential anti-semitism. His use of the actors is wildly variable, with Blythe Danner (in the best Allen role she's had to date) as Farrow's sister, Robin Bartlett as a friend of Farrow's, Mantegna a puppy-dog sweet love interest though hardly the "dangerous" person Farrow describes him to Baldwin as, and Bernadette Peters funny as a muse. Baldwin isn't around long enough and him being a semi-presence doesn't help, Hurt is dull and seems uncomfortable, Cybill Shepherd and Gwen Verdon are wasted, and Davis has little to do, though thankfully Allen would use her to greater effect later in Husbands and Wives, Deconstructing Harry and Celebrity."
¨Alice ¨ and ¨ Another Woman ¨¨
A. E. D. Blancarte | Guadalajara, Mex. | 03/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are my favorites Woody Allen 's movies. They are so human... with a touch of humor, I just love them Woody knows women as no other movie director does. ¡¡¡Bravo!!!"
A little known gem
mathwonk | 02/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well written, well acted, and well directed, this is much better than 99% of all films on TV or in the theatres. the only reason it is unknown is its adult content - marijuana smoking and romantic affairs, lending amusing background to a woman's haphazard but fortunate search for control of her life. This is that rare bird, an intelligent film, for adults. My favorite line: Joe Mantegna's remark to Mia Farrow: "You're really interesting", after she relates an intimate comment she heard him make to his ex wife while she was invisible. It is not a 5 star film, like say "Witness", but it is an excellent small film. This is for film fans who prefer romance to violence."