Musical biopics have become major awards bait thanks to the success of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, so it was only a matter of time before Celine Dion’s life was given the silver screen treatment.
Although, nobody was expecting it to involve a 57-year-old playing a five-year-old girl.
Aline, a kinda-sorta Celine Dion biopic written by, directed by and starring Valérie Lemercier, got a five-minute standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival, and it sounds absolutely bonkers.
The unauthorised Dion biopic describes itself as a work of ‘fiction freely inspired by the life of Celine Dion’, in that the whole thing is based on Celine’s life, but the main character’s name is Aline Dieu.
This is despite Aline singing My Heart Will Go On, which Lemercier has somehow got the rights to.
Aline charts Celine’s – er, we mean Aline’s – life from talented young girl to worldwide superstar, as she falls in love with her older manager Guy-Claude, a replacement for Celine’s manager and eventual husband, the late René Angélil.
We get to see Aline’s rise to fame winning the Eurovision Song Contest and eventually launching a super-successful Las Vegas residency – but according to early reviews from Cannes, one moment will overshadow all that spectacle.
Lemercrier, described as France’s Kristen Wiig, plays Aline at every stage of her life… including when she is a child.
No, not just dubbing over a child. Her face is on the child. A 57-year-old woman is shrunk down to the size of a child.
The movie freaks out viewers from the moment we see a five-year-old Aline singing at an older sibling’s wedding, with the camera panning to the front to reveal that Lemercier’s body and face have been shrunk to child proportions, and Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle playing their teen selves in PEN15 is about to look a whole lot more rational.
Vulture said in their review: ‘I thought briefly of the Ukrainian orphan who maybe was actually a 40-year old woman, and wondered if she had also been an inspiration to Lemercier. Ultimately, I accepted the gonzo choice as one that could only have been made by a true Celine Dion fan’, as well as adding: ‘The whole movie feels like a dream you might have after being put under at the dentist.’
Valerie plays Aline at all stages of her life (Picture: YouTube)
The New York Times’ review read: ‘I’m still reeling from the instantly iconic decision of the film’s 57-year-old actress-director Valérie Lemercier to play Celine Dion at every age of her life, including as a 5-year-old child.’
Amazingly, Lemercier thought nothing of this but decided not to provide Aline’s vocals, with Victoria Sio instead providing her singing voice.
Uncanny valley/horror movie creepiness aside, it seems Aline has gone down very well at Cannes, with Lemercier and her film receiving a standing ovation.
Well, in fairness, Celine is one of the campest women in music, so an unhinged biopic seems like a fitting tribute.
Lemercier said that Celine herself hasn’t seen the movie, but that her French manager gave her blessing, telling Variety: ‘The first thing I did was give the script to her French manager. She read it and said it’s good for Celine; she said it doesn’t mock her. She could see how much I loved her. That was the first thing I did but Celine didn’t want to read anything. She didn’t see the movie.’
Aline is set for release in November in France, with UK and US releases yet to be confirmed.