Alice by Woody Allen

It’s strange how time changes things. If I’d first seen Alice when it came out and Mia Farrow and Woody Allen were still together I would have had a completely different experience.

I did enjoy Alice, but kept remembering how poorly things ended for the pair off screen.

Anyway, Alice has a good cast and it’s the only Woody Allen film I can think of where a woman is his alter ego. Alice is a meek woman who’s wondering about the course of her life. She, like so many Allen characters talks all the time, expressing every thought, and most are quite amusing. Married to a wealthy financier Alice is tired of her affluent life. She is sort of a poor little rich girl, but since she’s sincere, she manages to get us to root for her rather than dislike her. Just barely though and mainly because her friends and husband are worse than she is.

She consults Dr. Yang, whom all the New York socialites seem to go to, though whenever she visits Alice is the only Westerner in the office. Dr. Yang’s magical herbs and treatments enable Alice to fly or become invisible and these superpowers help her see her life and choices better, as does her dalliance with a down-to-earth jazz musician. These magical elements are restrained so they never quite make one’s eyes roll.

I found Dr. Yang’s stereotypical depiction annoying. His bad English was so obviously scripted. Some of this oriental ways were obviously a conglomeration of Asia rather than characteristics of a man who was from a particular place in China. His counsel on how Alice should find herself was so unAsian, it was ridiculous.

All in all, it’s an entertaining enough movie, though not all that insightful since Woody Allen has taken us down these alleys before and provided the same insights before.