Zelig

  • 1983
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Comedy

ZELIG employs technical wizardry to create a memorable fable of cultural assimilation. Leonard Zelig (Woody Allen) is a minor celebrity of the Depression era whose abilities as a "human chameleon" astound the world. Desperate to be accepted by others, he goes to extraordinary lengths to become one of the crowd. This desire is realized, formally speaking,...read more

Reviewed by Michael Scheinfeld
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ZELIG employs technical wizardry to create a memorable fable of cultural assimilation. Leonard Zelig (Woody Allen) is a minor celebrity of the Depression era whose abilities as a "human chameleon" astound the world. Desperate to be accepted by others, he goes to extraordinary lengths to

become one of the crowd. This desire is realized, formally speaking, through a number of astonishing lab effects by which Allen's character is seamlessly blended with archival footage from the 1930s: he appears waiting in the on-deck circle as Babe Ruth is batting, among a crowd of Nazis cheering

Hitler, and growing a beard to become a Hassidic rabbi. His case captures the imagination of America, as well as the attentions of a psychiatrist (Mia Farrow) who falls in love with him.

ZELIG's loving recreation of Depression-era pop culture is accomplished with amazing verisimilitude; the faux-documentary sequences are among the best since CITIZEN KANE. Allen's ongoing struggles with psychoanalysis and his Jewish identity--stridently literal preoccupations in most of his

work--are for once rendered allegorically. The result is deeply satisfying.

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  • Released: 1983
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: ZELIG employs technical wizardry to create a memorable fable of cultural assimilation. Leonard Zelig (Woody Allen) is a minor celebrity of the Depression era whose abilities as a "human chameleon" astound the world. Desperate to be accepted by others, he g… (more)

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