What was Woody Allen on when he was making this film? I must admit, it's shot extremely well and he really looks like he's in some of the old footage, but the storyline is completely bonkers. It's about a human chameleon who seeks treatment for his weird condition. I really wondered what was going on while I was watching the film because it looked so real. The added commentary and interviews also made it seem really realistic but the storyline does go from one extreme to another. Watching Allen's character change into a Jew and a black person was cleverly done for a movie that was made in the 80's, but I was wondering what was Allen trying to attempt. It's shot like a documentary so there isn't much comedy but the concept is original but weird. I did stick with the movie because of the crazy storyline, but I don't know if I liked it or just thought that it was mad. Watchable!
Personally I think that this movie would have been much better if he had some top class actors in it. The scene were Zelig was sitting behind Hitler trying to get his wife's attention was impressive and Allen played his character well. When all of his wife's started to pop out of the woodwork, the moral of the story comes into play but it's still a crazy movie. It's worth a watch just to witness Zelig change into different people and to see how he cleverly put the movie together. It does seem like your watching the History channel because of the old footage, but when you see Allen's face pop up in some of the shots, you realise that it's his warped sense of humour that created such a off the wall movie.
Domestic Gross: $12million
I recommend this movie to people who are into there Woody Allen movies about human chameleon, trying to to be cured of his condition. 5/10
An oldstyle comedic mockumentary on a fictional figure.
What's better is the type of person this film is about: a human chameleon named Leonard Zelig, someone who can literally transform to match the people he is around to fit in. If he is around black people, his hair and skin will change. If he is around doctors, he will pose as one. When around anyone, he will fit in with them.
It came from when Zelig was younger and was asked if he's read Moby Dick. He was embarrassed to say no. He was humiliated and never wanted to feel like that again. So from then on, he's made sure he could always fit in with the crowd and not negatively stand out and potentially be humiliated.
With this story concept, Allen add hilarious lines all throughout the film.
This film is added to my list of favorite Woody Allen films.
Zelig, I give you a 100%.
I'm not one for blanket political correctness, but if you're gonna use blackface and slant-eyed make-up, you've gotta say something narratively relevant and not just treat it as a gag. There's so much social and cultural critique to be mined for both smart comedy and introspective pathos: people's prejudices toward different races, the knowledge of one's own race as the Other, the oftentimes unquestioned authority of those in respected professions, et cetera.
The fictional Dr. Eudora Fletcher states that to the untrained observer, Zelig's faux-psychiatrist sounds realistic, but he's really just deploying cliched lingo. It would follow that Zelig adopts different stereotypical speech patterns for different races or classes, but all of this "research" is presented in silent "archive footage," not some tour de force bit of spoof acting like Robert Downey Jr.'s in "Tropic Thunder." Nothing changes within Woody or Zelig to actually BECOME or even inhabit another personality, which is sadly unsurprising since Woody Allen seems incapable of playing anyone other than Woody Allen. (And anyway, mimicking Dr. Fletcher is technically a plothole because Zelig's chameleonic power doesn't work with or on women.)
Without grounding in what it actually means to "pass" as a different race, class, or other distinction, this lightweight premise and execution is almost as insulting as Woody's blind man bit in "Hollywood Ending."