Alice Neel (2009)
Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 16
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 4
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Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 3
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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 111
Filmmaker Andrew Neel explores the life and art of his grandmother, celebrated American painter Alice Neel, in a lovingly crafted documentary that focuses on the same subjects of intimacy and family so prevalent in the work of his subject. A single mother whose defiance of convention fueled a dynamic creativity that helped her to overcome the limitations imposed on her as a female artist, Neel's life is explored not only through photographs and interviews with family members, art historians, and
Jan 21, 2007 Wide
Feb 11, 2009
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The finely crafted Alice Neel is at once tribute, investigative journalism and messy family drama.
There is a great deal more to Alice's story: the avant-garde of the 1920s; the government's support of artists during the Great Depression; the feminist movement of the 1970s, during which she became an icon. This rich film captures it all.
If the artist is an elusive target, the art is as sharp as a razor blade. The portraits are extraordinary.
So many people speak onscreen, from so many folds of Neel's life, that, despite captions, the viewer feels taxed to keep straight their identities and relationships to Neel.
For all the juicy storytelling, Alice Neel remains, in this film, a cipher: brash, grandmotherly, and beyond understanding.
The effect is spirited rather than incriminating and, bolstered by Jonah Rapino's contemplative score, as piercingly detailed as one of Alice's mesmerizing portraits.
There's much pungent detail on offer here, chronicling Neel's unorthodox lifestyle in Cuba and Spanish Harlem, and the struggles she had in an era when abstract painting was triumphant; all of which is given a little more edge than you might expect.
This documentary by the artist's grandson Andrew Neel, delves into the life and imagination of Alice Neel, the defiant pioneering, cutting edge, raunchy and prolific late artist.
Alice Neel offers a relatively objective view of a person who, seeing life as a sentence to be served, spent it doing the thing she loved.
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