Me and Orson Welles is the newest Richard Linklater movie, an adaptation of Robert Kaplow‘s book, starring Zac Efron, Christian McKay, Claire Danes, Ben Chaplin, Zoe Kazan, Eddie Marsan, James Tupper and Kelly Reilly.
Richard (Zac Efron) is a student at high school and a great fan of the theatre. When he gets cast in Orson Welles’ (Christian McKay) newest production – Julius Caesar – a dream comes true for him. With a mixture of boldness and naivite he soon endears himself to the entire cast, including Orson Welles and his assistant, Sonja (Claire Danes).
I was very hesitant to see this film. My relationship with Linklater films is rather shaky and that the movie stars Zac Efron… well. But I was pleasantly surprised. It’s entertaining, very nicely acted and funny.
The movie pretends to be about Richard, but – much like I imagine it to have been in real life – Orson Welles (and Christian McKay) takes center stage whenever he is on screen and sometimes even when he’s not. I have not spend any time researching Welles, but the way he was presented in this film rings very true.
Also his production of Julius Caesar looked absolutely awesome and makes you wish you’d been there to see it. [Even though I’m kinda grateful I never had to work with Welles. Talk about exhausting!] Compared to that, Linklater’s direction is conservative and conventional. Which is perfectly fine and works very well in this case.
I have to say that a movie that has the following exchange, wins in any case:
Orson (as Brutus): Boy, where is thou ukulele?
Richard (as Lucius): I think some asshole… doth… stole it
But generally speaking, the script (by Holly Gent Palmo and Vincent Palmo Jr.) was really good. The only thing that I felt was amiss were the women. Sonja (and to a lesser extent Muriel) were treated carelessly. You get somebody like Claire Danes or Kelly Reilly, you make sure that she has more to do than that. Especially when they managed the same for all the guys. And Zoe Kazan’s Gretta was a framing device, not a character; and a pretty useless one at that.
Summarising: It will definitely make you smile. [Also, it’s another film to make the case for the return of suspenders.]