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Magical Universe

HD   Unrated Closed Captioning

Jeremy Workman

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About the Movie

Al Carbee is a true American original. An 88-year-old recluse living in Maine, he devotes nearly all his time to creating extraordinarily elaborate works of art from Barbie dolls. This captivating documentary, filmed over the course of the director's decade-long friendship with the artist, goes inside the mind of the enigmatic Carbee to reveal his rich, wondrous, and sometimes heart-wrenching inner-life. An eye-opening portrait of an all but unknown artist and an inspiring testament to the triumph of the creative spirit, Magical Universe is a moving tribute to a one-of-a-kind visionary.


Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 8
  • Fresh: 5
  • Rotten: 3
  • Average Rating: 6.1/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: While Mr. Workman evidently respects Mr. Carbee's talent, he also frames his movie as a trite narrative about a kind of lovably odd acquaintance who comes out of his shell, without many incisive ideas about shaping or broadening the material. – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times, Oct 30, 2014

Fresh: "Magical Universe" is a tender portrait of the artist as a weirdly gifted, wildly prolific and strange man. – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times, Nov 6, 2014

Fresh: This story is about tenderness and empathy, including Carbee's for his plastic proxies. – Abby Garnett, Village Voice, Oct 28, 2014

Fresh: To varying degrees of success, it attempts to prominently display Al Carbee's creations, yet keeps undermining his art in favor of investigating his skewed relationship to everyday realities. – Nick McCarthy, Slant Magazine, Oct 30, 2014

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

magical Magical Universe

Jeremy Workman tells a lovely story in this film. Al Carbee was an "outsider artist", an old Maine hermit, who created oddly beatiful and elaborate dioramas with Barbie dolls, then photographing them and creating collages. His work was visually interesting and really quite compelling. This is a strangely moving film about an interesting artist and man, and the relationships he forges in his later years. The soundtrack is beautiful. Photography by John Monroe captures some of the sense of mystery and amazement of meeting Al for the first time.

Wonderful and a pleasure to watch

Came across this gem looking for something to watch with my family.. Never was big into Barbies but I take pictures so we bought it. It's interesting, funny and emotional. A little insight into something we would have never got a chance to see. I applaud Mr.Workman for giving Mr.Carbee a chance to put his art on display and for being a friend.

Really Magical

I saw this by accident and I’m so glad I did. A fascinating glimpse into an artistic and isolated mind. The filmmaker’s film seems almost as personal as that of his subject’s work.

Magical Universe
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  • $12.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2014

Customer Ratings

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