Zelig - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Zelig Reviews

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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.
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-
December 27, 2014
I like the style of narration a lot in this one
December 8, 2014
May take a while to grow on you, but Zelig is an intelligently crafted and fascinating mock-doc with impressive special effects and while not full of riotous jokes like This Is Spinal Tap (released one year later), it boasts a sustained smirk inducing comedic tone throughout, perfectly representative of Woody Allen's playful sense of humour.
½ December 7, 2014
It's certainly innovative and very funny when it tries to be, but it's hard to escape the notion that the film is slight and often more tiring than great.
½ December 3, 2014
A fabulous mockumentary about a man who can transform himself into anybody he comes in contact with. Directed by Woody Allen and released in 1983, Zelig is a love letter to the Hollywood of the 20's and 30's.
November 13, 2014
A masterpiece. Must aee
½ November 1, 2014
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.

Budget: N/A
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
½ October 25, 2014
Woody Allen's usual wit blooms in this wry and keen mockumentary
½ October 24, 2014
this is a legendary mockumentry.
October 24, 2014
Truly one of Woody's best all around movie's, ever. Even my die hard "I HATE Woody Allen Friends" love this movie when I force them to watch it. Woody and Farrow are at their best, Woody playing a long-lost historical schlemiel over the ages, somehow time making him immune to his past. It's brilliant !
½ October 23, 2014
"Zelig" continues to morph in the style of its titular hero from being mildly amusing, to depressing, before finally becoming a fascinating piece of work about the nature of celebrity, individuality, and Allen himself. If not a masterpiece, it's most certainly brilliant and one of Allen's most accomplished pictures that is not only incredibly original, but intelligent and perhaps even important.
September 2, 2014
One of Woody Allen's great masterpiece. A genious, funny and incredibly wonderful work. The pseudo-documentary tells the strange and entertaining story of Leonard Zelig, the human chameleon who can turn be the people around him (in the mental and physical appearances). The film deepens man's quest for a better human being, a personality, have their own opinions, despite being influenced by others. The film chronicles a goal of man: to be accepted in society that lives in spite of being different from others. The comedy that addresses all these issues, it is also somewhat human and romantic, turning this little seventy-nine pseudo-documentary in a masterpiece of the great genius Woody Allen, one of eternal masters of cinema.
August 15, 2014
A great comedy about a human chameleon. Allen and Farrow give great performances here.
½ August 6, 2014
Possibly the most imaginative farce you'll ever see. Special kudos for the retro imagery in all its forms here. Essential Allen, way outside the box, and a near-believable documentary.
July 20, 2014
There are some really funny moments in this mockumentary. Woody Allen sort of reminds me of Stan Laurel a bit in this, at least he has that look of a bewildered idiot genius. The film does have a bit of a lull in the middle but the rest is good solid comedy.
½ July 15, 2014
What a boring movie. The plot was unique, and the style was cool, but it did not keep my attention.
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