Directed By: Richard Linklater
Written By: Holly Gent Palmo (screenplay), Robert Kaplow (novel)
Starring: Zac Efron, Claire Danes, Christian McKay, Ben Chaplin, Eddie Marsan, Kelly Reilly, James Tupper, Zoe Kazan
Me and Orson Welles is one of the best comedic dramas I have seen lately. It feels like a wonderful play that is unfolding before your eyes but on the big screen. Luckily this was playing near me this holiday in Tampa at an AMC Select theater. I was worried that I would not like this movie because I am not a huge fan of Zac Efron. I should say that I “was” not a fan of Efron because that has changed.
The film follows high school student Richard Samuels played by Zac Efron on his frenzied brush with fame and the stage during his portrayal of Lucius in the production of “Julius Ceasar” by a young Orson Welles, played by Christian McKay, at the Mercury Theater. Along his meteoric brush with stardom Richard falls for the hard-to-get Sonja Jones played by Claire Danes.
This film is a work of magic and Christian Mckay IS Orson Welles. He has nailed his performance for Welles in everything from the way he walked to the way he talked. I am hopeful that he will receive an Oscar nomination. Zac Efron really stands out in this performance. This is his most likeable and real role to date. He has fully captured the emotion of the moment in every scene and passes that on in his performance. I hope that this is what we have to look forward to in future performances from him. I thought Claire Danes looked amazing and had an excellent presence on screen amongst the rest of the cast.
The film follows the production of the play during the final week of rehersal up until opening night. Having been in a couple of plays myself I know how hectic, tiring yet energizing that time can be, it is almost magical. The mad dash to rehearse the lines and prepare the stage and props creates a euphoric mood amongst the cast and crew and everyone is running on adrenaline. These feelings and emotions are not lost in this film. Richard Linklater has deftly captured this feeling and put it to film. The audience feels as though they are right there watching everything unfold on stage and off.
The costuming and production for this film is astounding. I love the feel of New York City in 1937 that was clearly portrayed on screen. I wonder how many stages were actually used. Whatever the number they did a phenomenal job of production. Every detail was thought for and in place properly. I could not notice any mistakes in the film which is a good sign.
The Bottom Line:
If you are looking for a great comedy/drama with wonderful characters and excellent acting then Me and Orson Welles is for you.