Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DVD--Me and Orson Welles

or: Backstage with Orson Welles.

One word to sum it up: Fluffy.

Secretly, I'm a huge fan of classic movies. Everything from the 1930's/40's is so beautiful and lyrical to me that I can't help but fall in love with everything that has anything to do with that time period. So, of course, it was only fitting for me to fall in love with Me and Orson Welles, a film set in 1937 which follows the backstage drama of Orson Welles' production of 'Julius Caesar'. But I never expected that it would be such a quality homage to older backstage comedies of it's time. That made me enjoy it all the more.

Richard Samuels (Zac Efron) lucks his way into a role on Broadway...in the production of Julius Caesar directed by a young Orson Welles (Christian McKay), no less. Here, the seventeen year old is introduced to a world that he couldn't even dream of. He falls in love with an older woman, Welles' secretary Sonja (Claire Danes), which leads him to learn that the theatre isn't all fun and games. Not only does she cause trouble for him, but Richard must deal with the perfectionism and narcissism of his director, along with juggling his school and homelife.

Under the faithful direction of Richard Linklater, who is responsible for such hits as School of Rock and Dazed and Confused, the well put together cast are at their finest form. Yeah, Zac Efron is still the cutie-pie he was back in his High School Musical days, but there is more professionalism in his performance here. I can't help but feel that is due to the seriousness of this production and the assured direction from Linklater. If he continues on with films like this, then he is well on the road to breaking out of the Disney trend and may become a respected actor. Claire Danes is so delightful in this movie, I just wanted to go and hug her. She was so bouncy and happy, which reminded me of how the typical comediennes like Katharine Hepburn used to act.

However, while Efron and Danes are superb, it is really Christian McKay who steals the show. Haven't heard of him? Don't worry. This is basically his debut performance, and what a debut performance it is. McKay seems to capture the character of Welles quite charasmatically, leading to an enlightening and enjoyable watch. His performance makes the movie as great as it is. Not only is Me and Orson Welles a great insight into the early times of one of film histories most fantastic directors, but it's also a brilliant insight into life backstage. That was the clincher for me, and probably the reason why I enjoyed this movie so much. Any closet fans of anything 30's and 40's will love this, or anyone with a dream of theatre. It's funny, and insanely sweet, I couldn't help but fall in love with it.

THE VERDICT: Me and Orson Welles is a charming movie, but is an amazing opportunity for a rising star to shine: Christian McKay and his damn good performance as Orson Welles.



  1. Loved this. Caught me completely by surprise and I was absolutely charmed by it. Would love to see an extended cut with more of the actual show included.

  2. It is a charming movie isn't it? An extended cut would be awesome...I was really into the show parts!


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