What? (Diary of Forbidden Dreams)
What? (Diary of Forbidden Dreams) (1973)

More absurd than comical, Polanski's Diary of Forbidden Dreams offers a surreal take on Lewis Carroll's already surreal Alice in Wonderland. The story centers on the bizarre experiences of an American hippie chick who is hitchhiking… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: October 3, 1973
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Critic Score: 25% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Vincent Canby
New York Times

The girl, the villa and the performances are beautiful enough to bridge those sequences when the film, like its heroine, seems searching for explanations that will never be found.

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Christopher Hudson
The Spectator

The dialogue is as limp as the reactions of its audience are likely to be, and the only mystery is why an immensely talented film-maker like Polanski should have turned his finger to it.

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Adam Lippe

Polanski subjects his frequently nude and always naïve Alice in Wonderland to attempted rapes, dialogue so sexist and misogynistic as to play like parody, and a reliance on that old cliché that women always want sex, you just have to force them into it.

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Chris Petit
Time Out

All suitably throwaway, it's held together by our own curiosity and Polanski's obvious delight in observing such strange goings-on in rich summer villas.

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Jamie McLeish

A terrible self-indulgent piece of misogynist trash from an otherwise great director.

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Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The whole thing is as delicate and insubstantial as the pink rose petals that fall when Nancy and Giovanni duet on the Mozart Piano Sonata -- and just as appealing.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

I wonder how much Carlo Ponti gave Roman Polanski to make Diary of Forbidden Dreams. Ten cents would have been excessive.

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TV Guide's Movie Guide

This haphazard fantasy is of interest chiefly to devotees of Roman Polanski and, even more so, of Gerard Brach, his longtime screenwriting collaborator.

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Flixster Audience Score: 54% Flixster User Reviews
AJ Verser
The copy of this I rented from the library was pretty messed up, but from what I saw, this was a good movie. An interesting comedy from Polanski.
Eric Broome
If you wonder why a film Roman Polanski directed during his prime is so forgotten, you obviously haven't seen "What?" Alternately known as… More
Greg S
Escaping from an attempted rape, an American ingenue (Sidney Rome) hitchhiking through Italy loses her clothes and finds a villa populated with eccentric… More
Dimitris Springer
So what if it's an unusual assault to moral attitudes?Perhaps it is a whole lot of a terrible sketch.Polanski definitely has a writer's block and… More
Pierluigi Puccini
Some sympathetic (in all its weirdness) moments can't save this messy alice in wonderland all'italiana, or a la polaski more exactly. I know the charm… More