Richard Linklater--Me and Orson Welles
Orson Welles is 21 years old and is on Broadway, presenting a radical interpretation of Shakespeareís Julius Caesar with the title role acting as Mussolini. On the spur of the moment, he decides to hire a teenage boy in a supporting role. That boy is entered into the emotional and funny drama of Broadway theatre under the genius turmoil of Orson Welles.
This film is two things: a coming of age film and a spotlight on the greatness and weakness of Orson Welles. Itís a quiet film. Nothing earthshattering or life-defying happens here. But in the conversations about theatre and fidelity and fame and purpose, behind the knowing looks and the power plays, there is a wisdom that often comes in Linklaterís films. He didnít write this script, but each actor is perfect for the part, and we are receiving knowledge about celebrity and how faithfulness is a one way street in real life.
It is interesting comparing the approach to theatre in this film to that of Birdman. Birdman is showy and intense and we donít know what will happen next, but Orson Welles is more realistic, although not as gritty. In Birdman, the camera flies through the theatre and the surroundings, giving it a surreal sense. Orson Welles is more grounded, both physically and giving a sense of real history and what really happens in a theatre. Birdman is magic realism, and implies grandiose ideas, but Me and Orson Welles provides real ideas and not just the semblance of it.
Me and Orson Welles might be easy to dismiss as fluff, but when I think about the historical Orson Welles, or about theatre, I will think about this film. 4/5