Céline Dion Biopic 'Aline' Described As 'Strange,' 'Kooky'
A film about the life and career of Céline Dion raised eyebrows – but earned a standing ovation – at the Cannes Film Festival this week.
Aline was directed by French actress Valérie Lemercier, who also co-wrote the screenplay and stars as the titular singer. Canadian actor Sylvain Marcel plays Guy-Claude and Aline features several of Dion’s hits, performed by French singer Victoria Sio.
“The movie is a strange object, as it presents itself with all the hallmarks of comedic caricature … yet it behaves like a straight-up biopic, uses almost all of Dion’s greatest hits (performed by a singer sounding remarkably like Dion), and seems reluctant to mock its subject,” opined Caspar Salmon of the Daily Beast. “In so doing, the film becomes essentially a loving tribute – but it feels oddly hollow and defanged, and may leave viewers wondering exactly what the point of the whole fandango is."
Titled The Power of Love when the project was announced in early 2019, the movie premiered last October as Aline and screened last November at a festival in the Netherlands. (Many media outlets have erroneously reported that Aline premiered at Cannes.)
Producers have described Aline as more of an "homage" than a biopic and it’s not clear why names were changed (Dion’s character is named Aline Dieu and her late husband and manager René Angélil is named Guy-Claude Kamar) since it seemed that Dion had given her stamp of approval for the film, co-produced by Montreal’s Caramel Films.
Many reviewers noted that Lemercier, with the help of visual effects, portrays Dion as a child, teenager and adult.
In The New York Times, Kyle Buchanan admitted he’s “never seen anything quite like it” and said he is “still reeling from the instantly iconic division of the film’s 57-year-old actress-director Valérie Lemercier to play Céline Dion at every age of her life.”
He added: “Eventually, you just have to surrender to the absurdity of Aline.”
Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair described Aline as “one of the strangest approaches to a biopic I’ve yet seen” and Vulture’s Rachel Handler tweeted that Aline was “kooky as hell …. a truly weird delight.”
At Variety, Peter Debruge called the movie “an unabashedly corny homage to Dion and her highly publicized romance with producer-manager René Angélil.”
He wrote: “Yes, this is a film for Céline Dion’s fans, but in many ways, it feels as if it were crafted for an audience of one, and that Lemercier seeks Dion’s approval above all.”
Aline will be distributed in Canada by Quebec’s Maison4tiers and is scheduled for release in November.
Listen to music from Céline Dion