We want to speak about “Aline.” More particularly, we have to speak about that face. If you watch the film “Aline” – described in its trailer as “a fiction freely inspired by the life of singer Celine Dion” – all you’ll have the opportunity to consider is the face. It’s the face of French director, author, co-producer and star Valérie Lemercier, who performs the titular Aline Dieu, a French-Canadian chanteuse whose life tracks with that of Dion, with just a few artistic liberties.
Not solely does Lemercier, who’s 58, painting a fictionalized grownup model of the charming, hammy stage prowler with legions of adoring followers world wide – Dion just lately turned 54 – however she additionally performs Aline because the 20-year-old winner of a Eurovision-style music competitors. Lemercier even seems because the budding musical prodigy at ages 5 and 12 – achieved by means of some CGI and a digicam trick known as pressured perspective.
It is, to place it mildly, bizarre. But many music biopics are pretty professional forma, so kudos to Lemercier for making an attempt one thing … totally different. Whether that one thing works relies on your capacity to chorus from doubling over with laughter within the first hour or so of the film. Intriguingly, the movie was nominated for 10 César Awards – the French Oscars – garnering a win for Lemercier’s efficiency.
Lemercier is thought for her comedic roles, by which she has pulled off this visible trick of enjoying all ages earlier than, and he or she has defended the selection in interviews. However, it’s a wierd course for “Aline,” which is just nominally a comedy and performs extra like a straight-faced devotional to its topic. Even earlier than her 1997 hit “My Heart Will Go On,” Dion was dismissed as a melodramatic Las Vegas balladeer. And perhaps there’s one thing to that.
Then once more, how may anybody with a coronary heart deny the enchantment of the singer’s willingness to floor the unvarnished, common sentiments of affection and longing? Beyond “Aline’s” visible incongruities, there’s an issue with is its alternative of focus. Almost as if by chance, Lemercier lands on an attention-grabbing thread or two right here and there: the kid star who has recognized nothing however glamour coming to phrases along with her cloistered existence, or the live performance by which vocal wire points power Aline to cease singing “Pour Que Tu M’aimes Encore,” solely to listen to the viewers end the refrain for her.
But there’s no deeper interrogation of these themes. Lemercier leaves it to your (presumed) love of Dion to fill within the blanks. There may have been a extra attention-grabbing film right here: one which explored Dion’s standing as a star whose international enchantment elicits barely ironic tweets and articles claiming her as Jamaican or Nigerian. As a toddler, I recall that my very own Vietnamese father and his buddies couldn’t get sufficient of Dion.
Unfortunately, Lemercier is overly enamored with – to the purpose of romanticizing – what’s objectively one of many strangest particulars of Dion’s biography. That’s the singer’s relationship along with her late husband, René Angélil, whom she met as a 12-year-old, when he was her 38-year-old supervisor. In the movie, Sylvain Marcel performs supervisor Guy-Claude Kamar.
By many accounts, Angélil, whom Dion married at 26, was the love of her life. No ethical judgments, however one could be forgiven for inserting a thinking-face emoji right here. What we’re left with is a movie a few protagonist whose interior life is essentially speculative, aside from a profession motivated by love. That narrative, which takes up many of the movie, is a bit of formulaic.
Guy-Claude sculpts a pop icon out of a gawky preteen over the objections of Aline’s mom, who relents when she realizes that their budding romance is real. There is a few drama and a wrestle with infertility, however the demise of Guy-Claude feels oddly shrugged off – an impediment to be overcome by means of music, household and love. For higher or worse, it’s the identical pat formulation you would possibly encounter in, properly, a Celine Dion tune.