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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Zac Efron
Claire Danes
Ben Chaplin
Eddie Marsan
Kelly Reilly
Leo Bill
Imogen Poots
Aidan McArdle
.
Directors
Richard Linklater.
Screenwriters
Holly Gent Palmo
Richard Palmo Jr..
Running Time
114 minutes

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Me And Orson Welles
Zac Efron meets Citizen Kane — that is so whack!


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Plot
A young man (Efron) stumbles his way into the Mercury Theatre, set up by Orson Welles in 1937. There he learns about acting, life and love.


Review
Me And Orson Welles
When Simon Callow set out to write a biography of Orson Welles, he found his subject too big for one volume. Similarly, it’s unlikely there’ll ever be a full biopic because, like Citizen Kane, Harry Lime and Mr. Arkadin, Welles showed many faces to many people over the years. However, a growing library of Welles-themed films exists, and soon it’ll be possible to programme a month-long season covering his life.

Richard Linklater’s film of Robert Kaplow’s novel, which somehow makes the Isle Of Man convincing as the Isle Of Manhattan, sits comfortably between Cradle Will Rock (set just before it), the TV movie The Night That Panicked America (about the 1938 War Of The Worlds broadcast), and RKO 281 (about Citizen Kane). Linklater scores over other Welles films in one crucial area: Christian McKay is the best screen Welles stand-in to date, easily raising the bar set by Angus Macfadyen, Liev Schreiber, Vincent d’Onofrio and Danny Huston. McKay uncannily resembles the young Welles and catches the familiar mannerisms, but more importantly he inhabits the role of a man who was always ‘on’: radiating the charisma that made people stick with him no matter how big a bastard he could be, stopping every so often to improvise lyrical speeches, weaselling out of crises by leaving human wreckage in his wake, clowning like a baby desperate to win over the grown-ups, and pulling great art out of himself like a conjurer producing a rabbit from a hat.

Around Orson Welles, the film weaves a conventional but nicely turned tale about a youth’s first steps in theatre, with Zac Efron creditably turning down his natural star quality to seem like a hesitant beginner and striking sparks off leading ladies Claire Danes and Zoe Kazan. Like Cradle Will Rock, it’s also a careful account of a legendary stage production, a ‘fascist Caesar’ with Mussolini uniforms and Nuremberg lighting. Welles’ Mercury Theatre was packed with big characters, and this is one of Linklater’s large cast films — with heroic work from Ben Chaplin, Leo Bill and Kelly Reilly as real actors (it’s touching that Bill does such a dead-on impersonation of the scarcely well-remembered Norman Lloyd), and more terrific support from Eddie Marsan as long-suffering producer John Houseman.


Verdict
A really satisfying backstage drama, this is an exhilarating tour around a man whose talent was almost as big as his ego.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Me And Orson Welles
Empire Star Rating

Good Pefomances But Not All That.

I was really looking forward to seeing Me And Orson Welles, they didn't have it at my local cinema so I waited for it to come out on dvd which I rented and watched it last night. Teenager Richard (Zac Efron) longs to become a part of the acting buzz so when he's hired by Orson Welles (Christan McKay) to be a part of the latest production of Julius Caesar, he's overjoyed but soon realises that maybe this isn't really thing after all. Meanwhile, he catches the eye of Sonja (Claire Danes) and a you... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 09:48, 25 April 2010 | Report This Post


Good Pefomances But Not All That.

I was really looking forward to seeing Me And Orson Welles, they didn't have it at my local cinema so I waited for it to come out on dvd which I rented and watched it last night. Teenager Richard (Zac Efron) longs to become a part of the acting buzz so when he's hired by Orson Welles (Christan McKay) to be a part of the latest production of Julius Caesar, he's overjoyed but soon realises that maybe this isn't really thing after all. Meanwhile, he catches the eye of Sonja (Claire Danes) and a you... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 09:48, 25 April 2010 | Report This Post


Me and Orson

this film wasnt too bad- great performances all round . Just didnt find the whole Ceasar production very interesting ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 16:18, 08 December 2009 | Report This Post


Me and Orson

this film wasnt too bad- great performances all round . Just didnt find the whole Ceasar production very interesting ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 16:18, 08 December 2009 | Report This Post


Me and Orson Welles

Director: Richard Linklater Screenwriters: Holly Gent Palmo, Vincent Palmo Jr Starring: Zac Efron, Christian McKay, Claire Danes, Ben Chaplin, James Tupper, Eddie Marsan Synopsis In 1937’s New York, teenager Richard Samuels (Efron) is cast in the Mercury Theatre production of Julius Caesar directed by a young Orson Welles (McKay). Review At the very beginning of this year came the release of Danny Boyle's masterpiece Slumdog Millionaire which later won eight Oscars (woo-hoo!).... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 21:43, 06 December 2009 | Report This Post


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