Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1990. Orion Pictures. Screenplay by Woody Allen. Cinematography by Carlo Di Palma. Produced by Robert Greenhut. Production Design by Santo Loquasto. Costume Design by Jeffrey Kurland. Film Editing by Susan E. Morse. Academy Awards 1990. Golden Globe Awards 1990. National Board of Review Awards 1990.
This sweet, comic fable by Woody Allen falls short of The Purple Rose of Cairo but has a magical quality of its own worth cherishing. Mia Farrow plays a Manhattan housewife whose wealthy husband (William Hurt) provides her a luxurious life of beauty salons and swanky shopping. Complaining of bad headaches, she is referred to a mystical doctor (Keye Luke in his last film) in Chinatown who gives her magical potions that do all sorts of wonders for her. One gives her the confidence to speak boldly to a man (Joe Mantegna) she has had an eye on. Another makes her invisible and helps her spy on her husband, whom she thinks is having an affair. Like Lewis Carroll’s heroine, Alice goes to the other side of the looking glass and gets a good look at her life, helping her determine the next step in her existence. Part Cairo, part Another Woman, this film’s best asset is Farrow’s excellent performance, one of the best she ever gave in any of Allen’s films.