Beginning with the “roaring 20’s,” America not only endures two world wars in the course of twenty-some years but also enters the “scandalous” era. The music had a lively beat, the dancing had pep, and dress hems were shortened, raising some eyebrows in the process. But perhaps what makes it most interesting is the progress entertainment made.
Me and Orson Welles (2009) Film Review
Life as a New Yorker treats Richard Samuels (Zac Efron) just fine. He is a high school student who aspires to be an actor but has no prospects. Everything changes with one walk down the city streets and a drum roll. Coming upon an eclectic group of people gathered in front of a theater brings Richard face-to-face with the great Orson Welles (Christian McKay). Impressed enough with Richard to hire him for a minor part in his latest stage production, Richard is happy to work with this troupe of actors.‘ME AND ORSON WELLES’ (2009) #FWarchives Click To Tweet
Not a man who likes questions, Orson refuses to set an opening date or accept any blame for the downfall of his theater. He instead points the finger at his business partner (Eddie Marsan), and is just arrogant enough to command the attention of, if not the respect, his actors. When Richard’s life is caught up in that of Sonja Jones (Claire Danes), his friendship with her soon turns into a matter of the heart.
This was a film that piqued my interest for a while now, the reason being twofold. One was Efron, the other, of course was a love of period films. After seeing it, I’m not sorry to have satisfied my curiosity, but this movie far from gratifies its audience. Throughout the entire run of the film, I wonder what the motives are. Sure, sometimes a film needs nothing more than fun characters and laughs to entertain, but I don’t think this is it. Everything is pretty to look at; costumes and sets, and the acting isn’t bad, but there is really nothing compelling in this trip to yesteryear.
Suffice to say, Efron has come a long way since his Disney days. He has become an actor worthy of leading man status no matter critics’ complaints. He’s good, but I do wonder where he stands as a character; is he genuinely a wide-eyed naïve kid who thinks the best of everyone or does he purposely taken advantage of? The supporting cast is not to be diminished either; everyone is spectacular from Marsden to the luminous Kelly Reilly who is equally charming in her all-too-rare scenes, particularly in her scene with Efron when she gives him a peck on the cheek. (Ironically, Reilly and Marsden are also co-stars in Sherlock Holmes.) She is one actress I’d like to see more of – especially in period dramas; she has a unique look that works well for the genre.
In all fairness, I cannot say that some of this isn’t charming. It’s cute but the length that the play is on-screen bores me to some extent (I just don’t get Shakespeare.) Saying that, there’s several heartwarming scenes that never realize their full potential because we don’t care about the characters. In the end, it feels like the story has no purpose because there’s nothing to show for their troubles. Fans of this era may want to indulge in this but I’d recommend the charming Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day instead.
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You can find Me and Orson Welles digitally on Amazon Video
Content: Implications reveal that Orson is a womanizer. He has a mistress in addition to a pregnant wife and flirts with anyone who catches his fancy. We are even led to believe that he and Sonja occasionally share a bed; the actors have a bet on who will get into her pants first. She and Richard do return to her place; he refers to her as his “lover.” Social drinking is a-plenty as is profanity. There’s GD, Jesus, sh*t and various other profane language. The film is PG13.