Celine Dion Biopic Is Drawing Buzz for Its Weirdness

Valerie Lemercier plays fictional version of star from age 6 to adult in 'Aline'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2022 2:35 PM CDT

It's not that unusual for an actor to play a character at different stages of life, using prosthetics and makeup to age them as the film progresses. French filmmaker Valerie Lemercier, however, did something a little bit ... different in Aline, her new movie based on the life of Celine Dion. In an unauthorized biopic the New York Times calls "unconventional" and the Los Angeles Times deems "unlike anything else out there," the 58-year-old comedian—who wrote, directed, and stars in the movie—plays a fictionalized version of the Canadian pop sensation from age 6 on up through adulthood, reports NBC News.

"The movie's passion is incredible—but, boy, is it embodied in something awkward," Amy Nicholson writes for the New York Times, noting how Lemercier is miniaturized through "cinematic trickery," with editing tools sometimes used to adjust the size of her face and body during different points in the character Aline's life. Other times, the props around her were simply made larger—think a giant microphone or school desk. Lemercier even wanted to show herself as a one-toothed infant Aline, but her producer cut the scene. "A thing I love to do is play children," she says, per NBC. "In France, people know that I often play small girls."

She adds: "Maybe it's a little bit freaky, I know that." Still, Lemercier says the movie is an actual heartfelt tribute to Dion. The singer hasn't publicly commented on the film, but some of her siblings have criticized it for inaccuracies (though it's supposed to be a fictionalized take on Dion's life). Not convinced this is one of the oddest film vehicles in a while? Other descriptions include "one of the strangest approaches to a biopic I've yet seen" (Vanity Fair) and "one of the most bizarre movies to come out of the arthouse circuit" (the SlashFilm blog), while the Daily Beast notes "it looks like the French equivalent of a Will Ferrell movie." (Watch the trailer for yourself here.)

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