Zelig - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Zelig Reviews

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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.
½ June 5, 2015
Woody Allen definately crafts an original, a undoubtedly funny, mockumentary.
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.
January 20, 2015
Un falso documental sobre un personaje ficticio. Divertida y original pelicula de Woody Allen.
January 15, 2015
Another good film from Woody Allen. Great way to speak about the need that most people have to blend and be liked. And a lot of funny lines.
½ January 12, 2015
A Jew that was able to turn himself into a Negro or Indian was a triple threat.

Leonard Zelig has a special talent where he is able to turn into anyone he comes in company with. If he is around Native Americans, he can turn into a Native American, same for other nationalities. Due to his internationally recognized talent, he gets to meet hundreds of famous individuals; however, due to lost memory due to some of his episodes, some chance meetings go better than others.

"The neighbors beat our family. The neighbors down the block beat our neighbors and our family."

Woody Allen, director of Midnight in Paris, Manhattan, Alice, September, Small Time Crooks, Annie Hall, Match Point, Shadows and Fog, and The Purple Rose of Cairo, delivers Zelig. The storyline for this picture is interesting and reminded me very much of Forest Gump. The character and interactions were interesting as was the filming style. The cast delivers above average performances and includes Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, and Patrick Horgan as the narrator.

"The bull gives himself a brain concussion."

I grabbed this off Netflix as another Allen movie I had never seen but was highly reviewed on both rottentomatoes and Netflix. I found the film interesting and well thought-out, I do wonder how much of the idea of Forest Gump came from this film (they were very similar). Overall, this is a nice addition to the genre, was a bit choppy in parts, but is definitely worth a viewing.

"Guilt related masturbation."

Grade: B-
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