Alice Neel - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Alice Neel Reviews

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½ December 14, 2012
Lovingly produced documentary.
Super Reviewer
April 12, 2012
I like a lot of Neel's work, so I enjoyed this. The documentary has something to say to anyone, regardless of your feeling about Alice Neel or her work. Fascinating, disturbing, and inspirational, all at once.
½ May 30, 2011
A fascinating portrait that goes to great lengths to uncover the costs of being steadfast in pursuing an artistic life.
½ July 27, 2009
we completely enjoyed this as a birthday movie. quite a few paintings i was unfamiliar with and the camera did a pretty good job of lingering over them. the interviews and psychological analysis could have easily ruined the movie, but i was surprised at how thoughtful most were. sort of properly constrained so that it all felt very immediate and authentic. after a certain point, the paintings are really kind of beyond discussion.
May 28, 2009
As a portrait of someone who laboured away without ever quite finding the recognition they deserved in their lifetime - a woman so independent of everybody else she even resisted the feminist movement's attempts to carry her aloft on her shoulders - the film is strongest evoking the artist's isolation, the feeling that, as painter Chuck Close puts it, "you're broadcasting, but no-one's picking up the signal". Could it be that the despair visible in Neel's subjects' eyes was a reflection upon the artist herself? I'm less certain how much credence to give to her offspring's handwringing, and how much it's just a useful hook upon which to sell a documentary these days; compared to, say, the kids in "Capturing the Friedmans" or Jonathan Caouette in "Tarnation", the Neels seem to have done OK for themselves, having developed in absentia parentis a streak of self-preservation that's served them well in their professional lives. There's a revealing contrast between Alice, who refused to seek a divorce on the grounds it was "bourgeois", and her sons, who - while burdened with a certain weight of neurotic baggage - went on to become doctors, lawyers and good company men. Inadvertently, the film raises the question of how one might rebel against a parent so far outside the norms of mainstream society, then answers it with aplomb: they put on a suit, make a fair bit of money for themselves, and spend the occasional off night wondering why mommy never painted them a rose garden.
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