Alice Adams - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Alice Adams Reviews

Page 2 of 4
February 15, 2011
One of those films like MARTY and VITELLONI, with a small scope and huge stakes, that will make you resent explosions, at least for a little while.
Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2010
A nice little slice of life drama of a poor girl who dreams her family is wealthy and important. Of course, the ending is predictable as most romantic movies are, but it's still an enjoyable drama.
½ July 30, 2010
This was a lot more interesting than I expected it to be. I wasn't ever sure whether it was going to turn out to be a sad movie (a desperate drama kind of thing) or something more upbeat. I like Katharine Hepburn, and here she was a fascinating character, a lot of fun. She reminded me of an Anne of Green Gables kind of character. It was enjoyable, but a guilty pleasure movie. I'm not going to argue that it was brilliant or really well-written, but, like most decent romantic comedies, I liked the characters and wanted them to do well, and it was emotionally satisfying when it ended nicely.
½ July 22, 2010
Deeply Uncomfortable, As It Should Be

In many ways, Alice may well be the most pathetic character Katharine Hepburn ever played. This is, however, not entirely surprising. Hepburn made a career of playing strong, forceful women, and Alice isn't either. She's pushy, but that's not quite the same. For one thing, Alice isn't driven by self-assurance. Alice is driven by the exact opposite. She moves too much and speaks too loudly, and it's hard to tell if she knows it or not. Everyone else does, but she's so caught up in who she is, who she wants to be, and who people think she is that she doesn't really have time to focus on any of them. What she is doing is attempting to project who she thinks people want her to be, and there's something pretty desperate and sad about that. Especially because she doesn't entirely know what the people she emulates want her to be like.

Alice lives in stereotypical Small Town America from about a hundred years ago. She is middle class with aspirations. Her father, Virgil (Fred Stone), is a clerk and has been for twenty years. Her mother (Ann Shoemaker), who never gets a first name, is a horrible, horrible snob, and she wants Virgil to leave his good-paying job, where he's being paid even though he's out on ill-defined sick leave, and get a better job doing no one seems to be sure what. Meanwhile, Alice is fluttering away at a high-class party where no one will talk to her and none of the men are interested in her. She does, however, catch the eye of Arthur Russell (Fred MacMurray), who shows interest in finding out what's under the birdlike exterior. She knows that he's rich, and she knows that he's high-class, and she fears that he won't like her if he doesn't think she is, too. So she puts on a ludicrous false face in order to win his affections, which she already has anyway.

It is not at all difficult to see where Alice gets her attitude. Much of what her mother says in the first ten or fifteen minutes of the movie is heart-stoppingly snobbish. She is about the most horrible woman to her husband, whether he realizes it or not. She blames him for all of the family's problems. It's his fault Alice can't have nice dresses and be like the Rich Girls. She has to wear a dress from two years ago! And okay, Walter (Frank Albertson), their son, isn't the best. When Alice is at her fancy party, to which she's dragged him, he's in a closet, playing craps. He knows he isn't happy there, which is good, but he doesn't even have his father's standards. He's not really interested in hard work. On the other hand, Alice has basically been programmed to belief that life is going to work out better for her and she'll be a part of that upper class someday, and they'll have to take her seriously then!

And meanwhile, all through this, Fred MacMurray is kind of being genial and dreamy. It is, as I think I've mentioned before, kind of hard for me to take him seriously as a romantic lead, as I was well into adulthood before I saw him in anything not actually from the fine people at Walt Disney Studios. As in, I saw [i]Double Indemnity[/i] for the first time a few years ago. (There may have been something before then, but if there is, I couldn't tell you what.) Of course, Alice wouldn't have the Absent-Minded Professor on a dare, and Lem Siddons would be too busy with his Boy Scouts to haul any girls around to dances. It's also interesting to note how different that disastrous dinner party would have been in a Disney movie. While it would be played for laughs either way, here, you are mostly watching the death of Alice's pretensions, and whether that's good or bad is almost a matter of debate. It isn't wacky. It just kind of hurts.

In a way, that's a good summary of the movie as a whole. Alice, after all, is not from a poor family. She's not from a vulgar family. In fact, it's only when she tries too hard that the vulgarity arises. She tries to put together a fancy dinner party, but they aren't equipped for it or used to the food. Her mother makes "caviar sandwiches" to surprise her. They've hired Malena Burns (poor Hattie McDaniel), a woman who hires out for a night or two, but they've never had a servant before and don't know how you deal with having one. One rather feels that, had Alice been more natural, the dinner would have gone better. After all, she made her poor father wear full evening clothes, and Arthur is wearing just an ordinary suit. Really, being herself would have been the way to go. However, her mother pressed into her for years that who they were wasn't good enough for the people they knew. Therefore, if she wanted to have a Worthy Man, he must be a rich man, and if she wanted to be herself worthy of a Worthy Man, she must seem higher class than she is. She is never comfortable in her own home and her own skin, and it is her tragedy.
½ March 8, 2010
i really did like this movie. i thought the story was good and hepburn was to and she made you feel for her, but nothing really special bout this movie.
½ February 9, 2010
Not the best early Hepburn movie, but Kate was fantastic in it. The story isn't particularly great, but it has a lot of funny moments and Kate really did a good job with the material.
½ February 9, 2010
I was moved to tears by Hepburns tender performance of socially precarious desperation. Love the the Austenian social theme. Excellent and worthy of your time.
January 22, 2010
Hard not to like a young and fresh Kate Hepburn as Alice, desperately trying to mix with the upper class, but failing - until a young Fred MacMurray comes along. The story involving Alice's father is pretty hokey and melodramatic by today's standards, but gosh, Kate is adorable! The dinner scene where the family tries to impress Kate's potential suitor is quite funny and hold up pretty well.
December 29, 2009
As social satire about the class divide in 1930s America this romantic comedy may have lost some of its bite, but Katharine Hepburn's performance as Alice Adams is superb. This was one of her earlier films. She was 27 when it was made but looks younger. In her later films there is often a harder edge to her screen persona, but here she positively glows. Definitely Kate's best film before Bringing Up Baby and a must-see if you're a fan of hers. If you're not, watch it anyway: you have nothing to lose but your Street Cred!
½ August 20, 2009
A pretty good film about a young woman, Katharine Hepburn, who is ashamed at her families financial status. Katharine Hepburn does a great job, but I just didnt find her character incredibly likeable; though she does partly redeem herself. The father was the best part of this film, and I really was emotionally invested in him. Also, Hattie McDaniel's small part as a "maid" is downright hilarious.
July 15, 2009
It's somewhat ironic while watching 'Alice Adams' which stars Katherine Hepburn as a poor woman trying to make it big in society that it's played, well, by Katherine Hepburn, who's upbringing, shall we say, in an upscale sort of way.

Here she plays Alice Adams, a woman who tries to put her best foot forward just to try to move even an inch in society. She's forced to make her own corsages, makes up phony excuses, and yes, even downright lies if that's what it takes! It somewhat works, as a high society suitor (Fred Macmurray) comes her way. But how much further will she have to go to keep up this masquerade? I actually adore this movie. Hepburn is so wonderful in this part which is almost written for her, as she's that believable. It's also nice to see Fred MacMurray in something other than a sop. Here he plays a romantic lead, which is a part I wish he played a lot more of in his career instead of being taken advantage of, (or taking advantage of). A great movie to show someone you love, as it's central theme is essentially, it's not who you know, but who you love.
June 11, 2009
Alice Adams is the story of a wannabe socialite who goes to all lengths to make sure her new love interest, a high society favourite, doesnt discover her real life. Hepburn's charisma and charm adds the characters neediness and endearing nature to create the perfect performance. Having not read the novel its hard to know if the script stays true to the novel, but what I can say is that the comedy and humour that the screenwriter has put into the screenplay is undeniably genius and makes the film. Great movie all round with a standout tour de force performance from Hepburn.
May 23, 2009
Amazing film. This has been amongst my favourites for a very long time. Katharine Hepburn is more then exceptional in the title role. Hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measures. The dinner scene is worthy of the DVD purchase in and of itself, as it all go's totally to pot (hilariously) with the help of a clumsy Hattie McDaniel and Alice has to admit defeat and drop the mask. Brilliant!
April 18, 2009
I adore Kate and have to find the time to watch one of her earlier films.
½ March 29, 2009
This film starts off wonderfully and the first party scene is incredibly sweet as young Alice tries to fit into a high society in which she clearly doesn't belong. The film starts to drag after that as she tries to hide her middle class from her new male companion. The film culminates in a pretty amusing dinner scene where nothing is as Alice hopes it would be. I don't think this film holds up quite as well as others from the era. The class and society commentaries are a bit heavy-handed and dated. The themes tend to repeat themselves throughout the film which makes it a bit tedious. And the ending seemed just a bit too neat for my tastes. But there are moments that are highly endearing and entertaining. Katherine Hepburn is always a delight to watch and this early performance is magnificent. The relationships are quite strong and I enjoyed the chemistry between Alice and her family and Alice and her new suitor (Fred MacMurray in a refreshingly non-Disney role). Overall, the opening party scene and the final dinner scene are worth the rental, it's just the stuff in between that's a bit of a bore.
½ December 14, 2008
This was a different type of role for Katherine Hepburn, and she is really good. You feel her uncomfortable pain.
November 8, 2008
Hepburn shines, as does MacMurray (in an unconventional role for those who have only seen him in Disney) in this simple tale of a young girl wanting to be accepted. Although the ending is a bit unrealistic, they make it work.
½ October 9, 2008
Very young Hepburn and Fred MacMurray! Light entertainment.
½ August 29, 2008
One of Kate Hepburn's very best performances, playing a youthful girl with such vigor.
½ August 16, 2008
good on Depression-era snobbery; marred by white supremacy ethos.
Page 2 of 4