Alice Neel | Chicago Reader

Alice Neel

Numerous narrative gaps compromise this biography of the pioneering social realist painter, made by her grandson Andrew Neel (Darkon) with great ambivalence toward his subject. Alice was an impoverished bohemian and a sexually free single mother who put her art before her two sons. Andrew mentions her 1931 suicide attempt but omits the several that followed, perhaps in deference to his father, Hartley (whose exchanges with Andrew constitute the film's liveliest moments), or his more conservative uncle, Richard. In similar fashion the director soft-pedals Alice's unconventional relationship with the wealthy entrepreneur John Rothschild. Alice Neel lived without apologies, so there?s no need to cover for her now. 82 min.

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