“Fiction freely inspired by the life of Céline Dion.”
This is how Valérie Lemercier, celebrated French actress, screenwriter, director and singer, describes her tribute movie Aline. Her unauthorized French-language biopic is an adoring look at Dion’s life, her love and her challenges.
We know a lot of the story — a simple, nice girl, here named Aline Dieu, the 14th child of a modest Quebec family, massively talented from an early age. Her parents send a demo tape to record producer Guy-Claude Kamar (obviously 28-years-her-senior René Angélil), who becomes her manager. Despite her mother’s objections, Dieu’s relationship with Guy-Claude blossoms in tandem with her rise as a star.
The movie contains some interesting creative choices, the most surprising 58-year-old Lemercier’s decision to play the singer as a young girl, superimposing her face on a child actress. If you can overlook that choice, there’s fun to be had in watching her as she captures with such commitment Céline’s round-the-world performances, from awkward 1980s TV appearances to her residency in Las Vegas. Lemercier capably lip-syncs some of her best-known songs sung by talented French-Italian chanteuse Victoria Sio, a dead ringer for Dion’s voice.
Aline offers up just the right amount of humour and respect and exposes the sacrifices Dion made to fulfill her ambitions. It captures Céline’s stage presence and the pure joy of her music while embodying her positivity, her love towards fans and her Canadian friendliness.
Aline is subtitled and shows Saturday, April 2 at 5 and 7:30 p.m. at the Salmar Classic.
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