Zelig - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Zelig Reviews

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April 17, 2017
#woodyallenretro Podcast Project

Woody perfects his mockumentary skills from take the money and run to a perfect tee with a very interesting and fantastically shot look into this charismatic chameleon character - still holds up to this day and can fool people to even think this was real person... well... not really but great execution
March 31, 2017
One of the most philosophical, historical, mocking documentary showcasing Woody Allen at the height of his imagination and moral seriousness, thinly and charmingly under the disguise of wit and mockery.
March 14, 2017
Woody Allen definately crafts an original, and undoubtedly funny, mockumentary.
½ March 7, 2017
Brilliant Film. The story, though somewhat slow at some points, is genius and the dialogue hilarious. The film itself is technically amazing because of its use of blue screen technology in inserting Woody and the cast into old footage and intercut them with re enacted scenes, which you hardly notice. I found myself trying to to dissect the film into "real" and "fake" parts but to no avail. The film contains a myriad of interesting themes that have kept me up at night after watching it. The mockumentary style allows for interesting "mechanics" such as fake interviews and my personal favourite, scenes from a film about the character, to be used, developing the narrative and the atmosphere. My favourite line in the movie is "The Fuhrer had a great joke about Poland planned". I'll leave it there. Watch it !!!!!
½ January 17, 2017
The story of Leonard Zelig, a man who could (and would) assume the physical characteristics and mannerisms of anyone he cam into contact with. When doctors discover him, they try to figure our he has this ability and what causes him to change. Eventually he is treated by Doctor Eudora Fletcher, a psychiatrist, and she works out how to treat him. Meanwhile, dubbed "the human chameleon", he becomes a celebrity. Celebrity has its downsides, however...

Very original film from master writer-director Woody Allen. The 1980s were a very creative period for Allen, including venturing into more dramatic areas. Long gone were the absurdist (yet very funny) comedies of the early 70s. Zelig is a bit of a throwback to that period, with a wonderfully ridiculous central plot and some hilarious jokes.

While over-the-top, the plot is actually very plausible doesn't fall apart, remaining solid to the end. Being presented as a documentary helps the plausibility.

Reveling in its absurdity the movie has a great momentum and energy. The documentary format presents Allen with scores of opportunities to demonstrate his editing and cinematographic skills, editing Zelig (ie himself) into newsreels with famous people as well as constructing very plausible "footage" of Zelig at famous events.

One of Woody Allen's greatest movies, and that says a lot.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2016
A delightful, original and funny Woody Allen mockumentary that is most impressive due to Gordon Willis' spectacular cinematography and the technique employed to make it look like old film from the 1920s, with even the actors inserted into real archival footage from back then.
December 2, 2016
Amusing pseudo-documentary. On Blu-ray.
November 22, 2016
A brilliant mocumentary perfectly capturing its subject times, dusted with that arrogant, yet nonchalant humour Allen became famous for.
September 17, 2016
Very interesting concept (documentary style movie about something so improbable in a satirical realistic setting) but the delivery wasn't as funny as is known with Woody's work. First 45 mins, the novelty of the concept keeps you going but after that, it drags.
July 26, 2016
Cute, short, with some memorable laugh out loud moments. An interesting comedic follow up to 'Being There.'
July 10, 2016
"-But I've never flown before in my life, and it shows exactly what you can do, if you're a total psychotic"
May 31, 2016
It pains me to not absolutely love this movie, I'm a huge Woody Allen fan and I'm slowly working my way through all his great films..... But this just didn't do it for me. Zelig is a mock documentary, very clever and really cool concept. The film just did not keep my attention, within the first 15 minutes of the film I had already lost interest and realized that I did not want the watch an hour and a half of the same repetitive gags. Sadly this movie will not be going into my collection and I'm hoping I can recoup my money that I spent on it by selling it on Ebay.
½ February 28, 2016
Good Forrest Gump effects. Stupid plot.
½ January 11, 2016
Such a good film. You could convince one to believe it's true facts and history.
December 12, 2015
A fairly delightful, light-hearted film by Allen built around a technical gimmick that still looks pretty fantastic.
½ October 12, 2015
Hilarante falso documental ; un guión absolutamente brillante que solo el mejor Woody Allen podría firmar .
September 19, 2015
This is an odd ball Woody Allen movie with a mockumentary style to it like Sweet and Lowdown which I liked and it worked better for that movie. Allen is great as well as the score, writing, and cinematography. Not my favorite Allen movie but a good one
July 7, 2015
The mockumentary approach turns this absurd story into complete genius.
½ July 3, 2015
What impresses most about Zelig, of course, is the incredible dedication of Woody Allen and his team to verisimilitude, despite everything about this faux-documentary being false. Allen plays Zelig who, during the 1920s and '30s, developed a psychiatric disorder that led him to transform (often physically) to be like those around him - a "chameleon" effect. Mia Farrow plays his psychiatrist. Although Allen claimed that the content of the film (about conformity and needing to be liked, one supposes) was his main focus, the no-holds-barred effort to shoot the film using old cameras (and even to rough up the film stock), to create songs and other ephemera featuring Leonard Zelig the Chameleon that appear true to the period, to entice real people like Susan Sontag and Saul Bellow to reflect on the fictional Zelig, and most famously to super-impose Allen himself into stock footage featuring various celebrities and politicians of the era, suggest otherwise. The whole thing flows very smoothly and you could, if your thoughts wandered for a moment, forget that you were watching a 1980s film (or at least forget that the footage of the past was faked). Alas, the content itself does not necessarily sustain the enterprise, but there are a few good jokes.
February 23, 2015
Mixing in footage of popular crazes and stock footage from the roaring 20's Woody masterfully creates a very unique film that I've seen nothing like since Forrest Gump, if it were exclusively the newsreels. Certainly mockumentaries are common, but a whole movie with vintage film and minimal narrative is a fascinating project. He still finds time for unrequited love, mockery of the public, over-reaching intellectuals, and non-sequiturs so you never forget you're watching a Woody Allen movie.
He attempts to make a strong point about the court of public opinion and the power of the press, which feels slightly forced, but what works is everyone's fear of not 'fitting in.' Most interesting when Zelig is alone he is completely devoid of personality because he has no one to work blend in with. An interesting, short movie that's most notable for it's ability to impose Allen's image on old footage in the pre-computer filmmaking era.
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