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By Chris Salce | April 8, 2022

In 1997, the world was introduced to James Cameron’s Titanic. Not only was the film about an “unsinkable ship” a massive hit, but so was its soundtrack, specifically the song, “My Heart Will Go On.” Not only was I obsessed with the megahit as a kid, but I was equally obsessed with the chart-topping song by Celine Dion. And yes, I still love it, though I did not know who Celine Dion was before 1997.

Aline is a movie based on the life of Celine Dion, but it changes the names of the characters. Why? Usually, this is done because one or more parties involved did not sign off and authorize their name or likeness. What’s odd is that although the names are changed, the film still contains songs made famous by Celine Dion, such as “All By Myself” and, of course, “My Heart Will Go On.” 

The comedic drama, co-written by Brigitte Buc, stars co-writer/director Valérie Lemercier as the title character, our Celine Dion stand-in. The story starts in Aline’s childhood, growing up in a huge family. She quickly discovered her vocal talents at a young age, and her family would have her sing at weddings and family parties. After recording songs onto tape as a pre-teen, the now teenage Aline was discovered by manager Guy-Claude Kamar (Sylvain Marcel). For years Guy worked to get Aline on the big stage.

During this time, the two would tour and spend most of their days with one another. Eventually, Aline and Guy fall in love and marry, much to the dismay of Aline’s family, who disapprove of the significant age difference, as Guy’s over twice her age. Thanks to hard work, dedication, and her powerful voice, Aline would eventually become one of the most famous singers in the world. Unfortunately, Aline would have to deal with several health issues and the loss of her husband during her time at the top.

“…Aline and Guy fall in love and marry, much to the dismay of Aline’s family…”

I appreciate a few things about Aline. First, I was surprised by the use of actual Celine Dion songs. Their inclusion adds more authenticity. Secondly, Lemercier has some of the mannerisms of the iconic singer down. Finally, I also feel that the sometimes comedic tone works in the movie’s favor. Now it’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but it makes it easier to watch.

Lastly, something I enjoy but acknowledge as the elephant in the room is that the film centers around a very controversial love story. I can appreciate that the filmmaker did not try to go around the oddity of the romance, especially during the time of cancel culture. Now, do I agree with it? No. Of course, the relationship between Dion and her manager, Rene Angelil, could be seen as a grooming situation since Angelil first met Dion when she was 12 and he was 38. It’s definitely an odd relationship between the two, but the singer has only said great things about her husband.

As much as I appreciated things about Aline, it does not exactly work at all times. The acting was not horrible, nor was it great. And when looking at Lemercier as Aline, she only resembles Dion slightly. I feel that with her being the director, she probably did not think about casting anyone other than herself as the Grammy award-winning singer. I’m sure that there were better options to play the fictionalized Dion, especially as a child and teenager. Lemercier looks odd as the younger versions of the character. It’s a problem seen in many biopics, and it has to stop at some point. Seeing 30-plus-year-olds in high school always looks comedic.

Aline has quite a few things to praise, but the bio-pic overall feels like a slight step up from a made-for-television film when it comes down to it.

Aline (2022)

Directed: Valérie Lemercier

Written: Brigitte Buc, Valérie Lemercier

Starring: Valérie Lemercier, Sylvain Marcel, Danielle Fichaud, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

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"…has quite a few things to praise..."

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