Sunday, January 10, 2010

Me and Orson Welles

Tonight I saw Me and Orson Welles, starring Christian McKay and Claire Danes.

Richard (Zac Efron) is a high school student with dreams of succeeding on Broadway. He gets his foot in the door with a small part in Julius Caesar, which is directed by Orson Welles.

Soon he falls for the beautiful Sonja (Danes) who works at the theater and is heartbroken to learn that in addition to sleeping with him, she'll also go home with the married Welles (McKay) believing it will further her career. It does.

During the production of the show, we see cast members overworked and left in the shadows of the big star, but always willing to make the sacrifice. As they rehearse and take jabs of criticism from their director, it is clear what it must have been like to work with such a polarizing figure in theater, radio and film.

Of course Richard is too immature to mask his anger toward Welles' transgressions and gets himself fired. What happens next in the production and between the two male leads is not entirely unpredictable, but I won't reveal it here.

The reason to go see his movie is the almost eerily accurate performance by Christian McKay. Not only does he physically resemble Welles, he emulates his mannerisms and speech patterns with unbelievable accuracy. He conveys the brilliance and the arrogance of the famed man just as effortlessly as Claire Danes looks beautiful in red lipstick.

But if the theater bores you, or Zac Efron annoys you, the pace may be too slow for your taste.

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