Fictional documentary about the life of human chameleon Leonard Zelig, a man who becomes a celebrity in the 1920s due to his ability to look and act like whoever is around him. Clever editing places Zelig in real newsreel footage of Woodrow Wilson, Babe Ruth, and others.Written by
Scott Renshaw <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie's modern day interviewing sequences in color were considered to be a parody of Warren Beatty's Reds (1981) which were similar in format and style. See more »
A presidential pardon would not clear Zelig of the state-level crimes of which he was convicted. See more »
The question of whether Zelig was a psychotic or merely neurotic was a question that was endlessly discussed among his doctors. Now I myself felt his feelings were really not all that different from the normal, what one would call the well-adjusted, normal person, only carried to an extreme degree, to an extreme extent. I myself felt that one could really think of him as the ultimate conformist.
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A fascinating pseudo-documentary with an intriguing premise, the footage shown looks very authentic, edited well together, with apt sets and costumes. A number of original songs written especially for the film are included, and they sound exactly like the type of tunes expected in a 1930s musical. The non-original music choices also suit the project. Woody Allen superbly acts out the interesting character that he has written for himself: a very different type of insecure, neurotic person to what he usually plays. Even at less than eighty minutes, the material nevertheless wears thin by the end, but some great ideas are developed along the way. It also feels a bit odd to watch, as the film is not really a comedy, nor a drama - not fitting into any genre - then again, in general real life are not meant to be straight comedies or dramas, are they? With the limitations of the style that Allen has chosen for the film taken into account, he does a pretty good job.
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