There are bad movies, and then there are BAD movies: movies so ridiculous they come all the way back around again to beloved territory; think “Trolls 2,” “Showgirls,” and the king of all bad movies, “The Room.” The phenomenon has even birthed intentionally dumb movies, like “Snakes on a Plane” and the “Sharknado” series.
And then there are movies like “Aline,” the fictionalized, unauthorized Celine Dion biopic…of sorts…that leaves people wondering, ‘What exactly is going on here and how should I feel about it?’
The French-Canadian drama sees 57-year-old Valérie Lemercier starring as not-quite-but-basically Dion (“Aline Dieu”) at all ages, including childhood. Yes, you read that correctly, Lemercier, who also directed the film, plays Dion/Dieu throughout her life, including as a five-year-old, with the help of CGI. This choice of all choices has critics and regular moviegoers alike trying to determine why one wouldn’t just cast child actors who look similar to Dion instead of superimposing an adult’s face onto a child’s body.
Is this a case of one of the worst decisions in filmmaking history, or is it actually quietly genius and perfectly camp? Well, it depends on who you ask.
The much-discussed movie premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival in July, and had its Canadian premiere in November of last year. It was released in the UK today, but American audiences will have to wait until April 8, when it will see a limited release in the U.S. But already the buzz has grown to quite a pitch, and continues to spread, fueled by the oddness of it all.
“Aline” seems to have perhaps even split the Dion clan, with her godparents objecting to the way the Dion family is portrayed, as well as the film’s inaccuracies, despite it starting with a disclaimer reading: “This film is inspired by the life of Céline Dion. It is, however, a work of fiction.” On the other hand, according to Lemercier, Dion’s son, René-Charles, requested a copy, which the filmmaker hopes means he’ll show it to his famous mother, who has so far been silent on the matter.
The film has garnered a number of positive reviews from top critics, including Vanity Fair‘s Richard Lawson, who opined: “The film accesses what lies at the heart of Dion as a public figure: she’s a bit of a weirdo, goofy and corny and gaudy and fabulous.”
But it seems one over-the-top bad review, from The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw, is inspiring Dion fans and cinephiles alike to check out this unique bit of cinema history more than any five-star review ever could.
Bradshaw calls the movie “utterly bizarre,” predicting the opening scenes “will have audiences screaming and running out of the cinemas the way they were mythically supposed to have done at the Lumière brothers’ first silent movie about the arriving train.”
“Even now, I still can’t believe I have seen it,” he adds, clearly bewildered.
Of the choice to have Lemercier play the character at all ages, he asks, “Why? Why in the name of all that is holy do that?” before saying it at least serves as “a point of interest in what is otherwise a desperately bland TV-style film.”
“But that opening section is the scariest thing since ‘The Omen,'” he concludes.
The Twitter takes are a mixed bag, but also show plenty are more than ready to experience the campy carnage for themselves, many in no small part thanks to Bradshaw’s evisceration of it…
As expected, it was amazing. It was campy, fun, ridiculous, and able to poke fun at itself + Céline – all the while keeping incredible attention to detail and a really high production value. https://t.co/wlC07qsYT6
— Lyle Quinn (@quinnlyle) February 27, 2022
There is no way the film is more entertaining than this review of it: https://t.co/Opocb1RoEu
— Tattsjane (@tattsjane) March 1, 2022
This is the funniest film review I've ever read ??? I couldn't finish reading it out to my partner for crying ??? https://t.co/2hX109XI2E
— Vick Bain (@vickbain) March 1, 2022
This review. Actually makes me want to see the film: https://t.co/L2qtfqy47x
— Matthew Austin (@mostin) March 1, 2022
This looks like the newest torture tool and a war crime to be.
— Dr Dutchscientist, maligned by Nature ?? (@dutchscientist) March 1, 2022
I completely disagree with this review – I saw it at #Cannes in 2021 and LOVED it, so funny and a film about love ultimately
Aline review – think twice before you watch this scary Céline Dion biopic https://t.co/x9zU2oYmND
— Marysia Trembecka (@MarysiaT) March 1, 2022
The Guardian just gave this Celine Dion biopic (Celine but not Celine) one star lol ?
The older actress playing her, also plays her as a child, with her face CGI'd onto a young actress lol Sounds wild, I will have to watch ? X x xhttps://t.co/10neWtdyFy
— Theatre Fan (@ShaunTossell) March 1, 2022
"Aline is Galaxy Quest for Celine Dion fans" https://t.co/GghTtwNUXa
— Joël Métreau (@jometro) February 26, 2022
I've watched the trailer for Aline more than once. It looks utterly horrific and I cannot wait to experience it in full.
Celine Dion won Eurovision but Aline Dieu won Dublin's prestigious Singing Award! pic.twitter.com/fKpspmjFal
— ABK (@aybekay) March 1, 2022
It is the UK opening day of critically panned knock-off Céline Dion biopic ALINE.
I have come to the only cinema in London showing it – the screening room of the Institut Français in Kensington.
It’s me and c. 15 middle aged French women.
I may go into labour at any point.
— Alice Beverton-Palmer (@alice) March 2, 2022
The biggest headfuck is that a lot of the plot revolves around young Céline’s inappropriate devotion to her much older manager… which is hard to relate to when this teenager is clearly a MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
— Alice Beverton-Palmer (@alice) March 2, 2022
Just realized Valérie Lemercier, who plays a Céline Dion-like figure in the biopic "Aline," won best actress at the César Awards, the Oscars of France. To be clear, this is the movie where a 57-year-old plays Céline at all ages, including age 5. https://t.co/bXotJEgR5j
— Chris Berube (@ChrisBerube) March 2, 2022