Thursday, August 26, 2010

Me and Orson Welles: Movie Review

The perfect blend of coming-of-age and theatre.

The "me" in Me and Orson Welles is Richard (Zac Efron) a high school student who gets himself a part in Orson Welles' production of Julius Caesar at the Mercury Theatre in 1937. He's the kind of kid that loves everything creative in the world, is romantic, and is confident and sure of himself. Well, that is until he's alongside Orson Welles. Christian McKay plays Welles as the cocky and out-spoken man that he surely was. 2008

Directed by: Richard Linklater

Screenplay by: Richard Linklater

Starring: Christian McKay, Zac Efron

Directed by Richard Linklater, he has managed to turn this coming-of-age film into a Shakespearean theatrical production. My living room was transported into a theatre house, and I was watching a play. The lighting and score mirrored the production and its time; the actors were all right on cue; and backstage became the forefront.

It’s a story for the love of the creative arts, the disillusionment that can come with a teenagers brush with greatness (or great arrogance, or of course both), and a story of what it would have been like to be part of an Orson Welles production. It must have been great to be Orson Welles (particularly at this time with a brilliant future ahead of him) and McKay makes that known.

It would not have been as great to be a cast or crew member. They are just there to recognize his greatness and when they do it to Welles’ desire, they experience the highs from the respect of an idol, and when he decides that they are just not good enough, they experience the lows of scathing criticism.

The cast includes Eddie Marsan as Welles’ collaborator John Houseman, James Tupper as famous actor Joseph Cotton, and Claire Danes as an eager-to-please but determined young woman. Of course Welles thinks he has a lot to teach Richard about women, and the screenplay works in a refreshing amount of humour and romance. Zac Efron as the lead character very effectively navigates the audience through this world of greatness, creative discovery, theatrical nightmares, and a little bit of love in his one week with Orson Welles.

This film is not a biopic, it's just the story of a young man discovering the acting world and the real world -- all alongside one of the most dramatic artists of the time. Romance was added to the storyline, along with a touch of self-discovery and world wonderment -- but that was done beautifully and softly. Me and Orson Welles is the perfect blend of coming-of-age and theatre.
Best of 2010