April 8th, 2022
STARRING: VALERIE LEMERCIER, SYLVAIN MARCEL, DANIELLE FICHAUD
DIRECTED BY: VALERIE LEMERCIER
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Aline is a fictionalized biopic based on the life of Celine Dion. There could be something there, but what happens early on, within the first ten minutes, is such a monumental moment, and an outlandish choice, where everything that happens after is unable to recover. For the early stage of Aline Dieu’s life- played by director Valerie Lemercier- at the age of eight, instead of hiring a child to play the young singer, Lemercier decided to superimpose her head onto the body of a child. It feels wrong to be hung up on it, to judge the entire movie negatively because of it, but it’s such a jarring visual that it makes things hard to recover from. To see the face of a much older person on the body of a child is off putting. And it’s not that Aline becomes significantly better at telling the story of the French Canadian singing star and her climb to fame, but it left me wondering if it was supposed to be a comedy? If it was a comedy then it did its job because Aline is ridiculous.
After the dust settles on the whole, Lemercier’s head is on the body of a shrunken child, the majority of Lemercier and co-writer Brigitte Buc focus on the relationship between Dieu and her older manager-turned eventual husband Guy-Claude Kamar (Sylvain Marcel). There’s the brief background of Aline’s massive family, the youngest of 16-children, a Canadian Von Trapp family, playing music at weddings, but aware of the massive vocal talent of young Aline. The third character is mother Sylvette (the bubbly Danielle Fichaud), who believes in her daughter, guides her in her pursuit, but can’t bear the fact that her twenty year old daughter is falling for her manger that’s more than half her age. The heart wants what it wants and for the love of Guy and Aline, their hearts will go on.
As for the direction and acting from Lemercier it’s a case of spinning too many plates. The performance is a caricature, where the acting is distracted by constant changing of wigs, poor lip-syncing to songs that don’t even sound like Dion’s original tracks, and inauthentic concerts that look more like a weather forecast. The majority of the plot revolves around the couple trying to conceive a child and the hustle and bustle of a music career. Not that I don’t appreciate that Aline veers away from the standard music biopic of hitting the career bullet points, but this is a story lacking in conflict. One of the subplots is Guy figuring out his healthy eating regiment. It’s not exactly thrilling to watch an older man eating carrot puree.
Celine Dion is also an interesting and worthy person for a biopic, especially for a viewer such as myself. I never listened to her music and only knew her because of the fame and success with Titanic. Aline spends a measly five minutes on that time period and not digging deeper into darker times in her childhood, what made the musician special, her conflicts in life, or problems that arrive with success. Dion’s life is almost too perfect to dissect in biopic form.
It ultimately comes down to how Aline is better as a comedy instead of taking things seriously. The costumes are outlandish, the hairstyles constantly distracting (seriously, play a drinking game with every new hair style and you will be drunk midway), and you won’t ever be able to forget the obscene decision made to put a grown adult head on the body of a child. It’s shocking stuff and quite hilarious to just laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. I don’t think that’s what Valerie Lemercier had in mind. But that’s the way it is.
ALINE IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS APRIL 8TH, 2022
1 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady