Magical Universe (2014)




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Filmed for over a decade, MAGICAL UNIVERSE is a portrait of Al Carbee, an 88 year old strange and reclusive outsider artist who spends his days alone in a massive house in Maine creating art -- mostly featuring Barbie Dolls in elaborate dioramas. The documentary profiles Carbee's amazing body of work and his relentlessly creative lifestyle. Carbee's story is explored through the prism of his unlikely friendship with New York filmmaker Jeremy Workman, who unexpectedly becomes Carbee's closest friend and only link to the outside world. Far beyond just a portrait of an eccentric, MAGICAL UNIVERSE is about wonder, friendship, and the transcendent power of creativity. Its story culminates with Al Carbee's greatest triumph as an artist and a man. (C) Sundance
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for Magical Universe

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (4)

"Magical Universe" is a tender portrait of the artist as a weirdly gifted, wildly prolific and strange man.

Full Review… | November 6, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

While Mr. Workman evidently respects Mr. Carbee's talent, he also frames his movie as a trite narrative about a kind of lovably odd acquaintance who comes out of his shell, without many incisive ideas about shaping or broadening the material.

Full Review… | October 30, 2014
New York Times
Top Critic

A whiff of the strange never quite lifts from the real-life story of Al Carbee, a Maine outsider artist who converted his ramshackle home into a cavernous diorama for Barbie dolls.

Full Review… | October 29, 2014
Time Out
Top Critic

This story is about tenderness and empathy, including Carbee's for his plastic proxies.

Full Review… | October 28, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

Carbee is such a benign, downright lovable presence, and so obviously tickled by the attention, that the film doesn't seem at all exploitative.

Full Review… | November 3, 2014
The Dissolve

An odor of condescension and, eventually, exploitation inescapably emanates.

Full Review… | October 31, 2014
Film Journal International

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