The American Experience Blogathon – Zelig (1983)

This review is part of the The American Experience Blogathon being run by Debbie over at Moon in Gemini

Tnx for letting me take part!

“I’m 12 years old. I run into a Synagogue. I ask the Rabbi the meaning of life. He tells me the meaning of life… But, he tells it to me in Hebrew. I don’t understand Hebrew. Then he wants to charge me six hundred dollars for Hebrew lessons.” – Leonard Zelig

Number of Times Seen – 1 (20 May 2021)

Brief Synopsis – A man suffering from a disease that makes him have chameleon like qualities gets very involved in popular culture during the 1920’s and 1930’s.

My Take on it – Such a fun mockumentary that works so well.

This is a film that I recall hearing about when it came out yet never had much desire to see what it was all about.

This blogathon gave me the perfect reason to check it out because it truly is all about the American Experience during the 1920’s and 1930’s.

I have not always been a fan of Woody Allen style films and most have similar themes and actors in them.

This one is quite unique and allows the audience to get something completely different.

The story is told in a mockumentary style as if this character had been a real person.

Allen has interviews with famous people in pop culture of the time that discuss their interactions with this fictional figure and that helps make things feel so much more powerful and genuine the whole way through.

The way that this film inserts pictures of Allen (who plays the title role) into pictures and videos of the time is done amazingly and I’m surprised that they didn’t get nominated for their special effects work here.

The story plays out quite well and the choice to keep the running time under 90 minutes also helps because things don’t feel rushed or drawn out at all.

The choice to film this movie in black and white was also a great choice because it helps make this feel like a real documentary about these times, despite it being completely fictional.


MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – To create authenticity, the production used actual lenses, cameras and sound equipment from the 1920s, and used the exact same lighting that would have been done. In addition, ‘Gordon Willis’ took the exposed negatives to the shower, and stomped on them. As a result, even having shot and being acclaimed for The Godfather I & II before, Willis was greeted with his first Academy Award nomination. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)


Check out my *updated* movie stats here

To see my reviews of Oscar Winning Performances check out this link

To see my reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here (now complete)

Here is a link to my movie index A-Z

3 thoughts on “The American Experience Blogathon – Zelig (1983)

  1. This is probably my favorite Woody Allen movie, in special because I’m fascinated by the 1920s and 1930s. Your review reminded me that it’s been a long time since I last saw this movie and a rewatch would be a good idea.


Let me Know what you think!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.