Zelig is a 79-minute American fictional documentary written and directed in 1983 by Woody Allen. The film features Mia Farrow and Woody Allen and is set during the 1920s and focuses on the life of Leonard Zelig, a gentleman whose capacity to act and look like the people around him, makes him a celebrity during his time. For instance, at the party organized by Scott Fitzgerald, Zelig is able to relate to the wealthy visitors in a refined and thick accent, and even shares their sympathies towards Republicans. However, while he is with employees in the kitchen, Zelig fits in well with them and supports their democratic views. Soon, Zelig is recognized internationally as a human chameleon. Dr. Fletcher, a psychiatrist at the hospital where Zelig is admitted offers to assist him with his disorder. Through hypnotism, she finds out that Zelig has a strong desire for approval, which makes him change physically in order to blend with those around him. Through determination, Dr. Fletcher manages to cure him, but the illness returns later, forcing Zelig to attempt to fit in once more. The doctor also realizes that she is falling in love with her patient. In addition, numerous women allege that Zelig was married to them forcing him to flee to Germany, where Dr. Fletcher would later find him. Together, they run away to America, where they are declared heroes.
Zelig is remarkably a very funny and touching documentary that works concurrently as a love story, social history, as well as, an assessment of the various types of film narrative such as parody and satire among others. The film is a perfectly original and brilliant masterpiece, which shows not only Woody Allen’s creativity, but also his intelligence as a film maker. The documentary is very engaging and funny; I could not stop laughing at Zelig all through the film. However, it is very short, which leaves the viewer yearning to see more of the film when it ends. In general, the film is a must watch for all comedy enthusiasts.
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