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Movie Review

Me and Orson Welles a.k.a. “Ego ki o Orson Welles”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual references and smoking.

Reviewed by: Katie Thomas
VOLUNTEER REVIEWER

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Genre:
Romance Drama Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 54 min.
Year of Release:
2009
USA Release:
November 25, 2009 (limited—4 theaters)
DVD: August 17, 2010
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Relevant Issues
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What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love & Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.
Featuring: Zac Efron (Richard Samuels), Claire Danes (Sonja Jones), Christian McKay (Orson Welles), Ben Chaplin (George Coulouris), Zoe Kazan, Eddie Marsan, Kelly Reilly, James Tupper, Leo Bill, Al Weaver, Iain McKee, Simon Lee Phillips, Simon Nehan, Imogen Poots, Patrick Kennedy, Janie Dee, Marlene Sidaway, Garrick Hagon, Megan Maczko, Aaron Brown, Travis Oliver, Nathan Osgood, Robert Wilfort, Michael Brandon, Saskia Reeves, Aidan McArdle, Michael J. McEvoy, Thomas Arnold, Jo McInnes, Daniel Tuite, Emily Allen, Eddi Reader, Jools Holland, Steven Parry, David Garbutt
Director: Richard Linklater
Producer: CinemaNX, Cinetic Media, Detour Filmproduction, Framestore, Fuzzy Bunny Films, Hart-Lunsford Pictures, Isle of Man Film Commission, Ann Carli, Steve Christian, Holly Gent Palmo, Richard Hewitt, Sara Greene, Richard Linklater, Steve Norris, Vincent Palmo Jr., Jessica Parker, Marc Samuelson, John Sloss
Distributor: Freestyle Releasing

“All’s fair in love and theater”

This film is an adaptation of Robert Kaplow’s 1930s-era coming-of-age novel.

There is no other way to describe “Me and Orson Welles” than it being a nice film; the kind you see on a relaxing weekend afternoon.

Set in 1937, it follows the story of seventeen-year-old Richard (Zac Efron), a young actor looking to enjoy life and pursue his passion for acting. While walking the streets of New York, he happens upon the famous actor Orson Welles (Christian McKay) outside of the Mercury Theatre and lands a role in the production of “Cesar.” During the production, Richard falls for Sonja (Claire Danes) who works at the Theatre, makes a few friends, and in discovering what Orson and show business is all about, he questions if this is really all it’s cracked up to be.

There was nothing oh-so-special about the film. It was cheery, entertaining, and just nice, but that was all. Any heart or moral issues brought up were either excused, or simply set aside, leaving viewers with a nice, little smile and seven less dollars in your pocket.

There could have been a little more plot towards the beginning. It felt like the characters were almost slaves to the plot, which was merely a montage of rehearsals, in a sense. Conflict finally arose an hour or more into it, at which point, I wondered if there would actually be any.

The worst thing about the film is a scene, though no nudity of any kind is shown, implying Richard sleeps with Sonja, fulfilling the bet he made with other members of the play to see who could “get in her pants” first. She later spends the night with Orson and shows no regret. It is interesting to see that if she had been portrayed as anything but smart, spunky, and sweet, this character would be dismissed as a common, loose woman. Along with being the main instigator of drama, Orson is, also, the main origin of profanity, using it so loosely it feels like another part of his speech pattern. There are about 34 uses throughout the film, including the s-word, d-word, SOB, a-word, hell, and various uses of the Lord’s name in vain. Richard also gives a cast mate the finger.

Overall, the film is quaint and charming, and may be especially enjoyable for Orson Welles fans, or those involved in Theatre. However, keep in mind my cautions about the moral standings of the characters.


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Movie Critics
…NYT Critics' Pick… this movie is much more than an exercise in nostalgia for those storied old days… Instead, “Me and Orson Welles,” pays tribute to youthful creative ambition where and whenever it may thrive…
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
…Christian McKay’s impersonation of young Orson Welles is sensational in this enjoyable, though slight, historical fiction about a teen who spends a memorable week with the legendary wonder… The film ends on a note of supreme happiness and hope though, both for Orson and for Richard. …
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…An extraordinary impersonation of the American theatrical boy wonder by the young English actor Christian McKay is the indisputable highlight of “Me and Orson Welles,” an agreeable, reasonably convincing imagining of the circumstances surrounding Welles’ legendary staging of “Julius Caesar.”…
—Todd McCarthy, Variety
…a cheerfully fatuous coming of age comedy… But Mr. Efron’s fix on the period suggests a GPS struggling in a low-signal area, and the movie becomes an affectionate, name-dropping exercise in historical mutilation. …
—Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
…This is a movie of great spirit and considerable charm. It’s about the giddiness of promise—the awakening of young talent, after years of the Depression, to a moment when anything seems possible. … The plot, unfortunately, is conventionally conceived: Richard gets initiated into sex and other fascinating and complicated rites of the grownup world; that is, he gets warmed and then burned by people more experienced and ruthless than anyone could be at seventeen. …
—David Denby, The New Yorker
…I’m happy to say that Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles won me over completely… I can’t think of many films that capture both the spirit and the detail of putting on a show, under great pressure, as this one does…
—Leonard Maltin

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