Me and Orson Welles - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Me and Orson Welles Reviews

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December 30, 2017
Starting with the ungrammatical title, this movie spirals down fast. Christian McKay's convincing portrayal of Welles (especially his voice and accent) isn't enough to save it. Zac Ephron, hopelessly miscast, only knows how to act as if he were still in "High School Musical"; he never really seems sure of what he's supposed to be feeling or how he should react during dialogue, so he keeps a faux cynical / enigmatic smile on his face and coasts on his looks. I was honestly embarrassed for Claire Danes. How could she stay so perky and friendly? The script unrelentingly demeaned her (and all the other women characters). If I had finished watching it, perhaps I would have found something interesting, but the journey to that hypothetical point was not worth it.
½ June 2, 2017
This might be, in my opinion, Richard Linklater's most under appreciated film. This is one of Zac Efron's best movies and best performances. The visuals and tone are very very fitting to its time, and Christian McKat is spot on FANTASTIC as Orson Welles.
½ February 19, 2016
I don't think a film has ever made me crave being back in the theatre as much as Me and Orson Welles. Christian McKay gives an unbelievable performance as the titular character. He seriously deserves more recognition.
July 25, 2015
Christian McKay está impresionante como Orson Wells, mientras Zac Efron ofrece vulnerabilidad e intensidad en su encarnación de un joven lleno de aspiraciones en el mundo del teatro. Richard Linklater consigue un filme con un irresistible toque a la Woody Allen, notablemente actuado y producido.
½ April 6, 2015
A very entertaining film about working with Orson Wells. It doesn't feel like a Richard Linklater film in the sense of his other work but it is a well done departure from his normal work. Zac Efron is good as the lead and Claire Danes is quite great but the real shining star of this movie is Christian McKay as Orson Wells. He is spectacular in this and I can see why he picked up a BAFTA and Critics Choice nomination for this. Eddie Marson also did a great job in this. Great costumes and writing as well
February 28, 2015
Fantastic movie!!! EVERYONE did a great job. Zac Efron held his own and delivered a strong performance.
½ July 13, 2014
A well made period piece, with some amazing performances. I was expecting a bit more in the dramatic department from Richard Linklater, but it's not to say this isn't a good movie.
July 13, 2014
Delightfully made-for-television.
½ July 11, 2014
There are so many reasons why I love this film: 1) Richard Linklater. It shouldn't surprise you, but Linklater once again is able to create a film that not only tells a great story but is able to capture the era in which in is told. I was just as fascinated with watching New York circa 1937, as I was with Zac Efron pining for his love. 2) Speaking of which, Zac Efron and Claire Danes. Outstanding chemistry between the two give the film its emotional core. 3) The Quadruple Space. The film is rather quick and doesn't waste time providing too much subtext. Linklater let's you the viewer fill that in on your own, and it works wonderfully. And finally, 4) Christian McKay as Orson Welles. Absolutely outstanding as the larger than life control freak.
June 6, 2014
This is a good film for drama geeks or old Hollywood fans. Its all about showbiz, with shades of "the lady eve". clare danes is charmeing and desierable and zac efron does his part. Christian McKay does a good job playing wells without going over the top with it.
June 5, 2014
Nothing special...:(
½ May 12, 2014
A thoroughly enjoyable film with more depth than is immediately apparent. Zac Efron continues to make smart choices in breaking away from the "Disney Channel curse" - he keeps stretching but not so far and so fast as to alienate his fans. Christian McKay is uncanny as Welles (I happened to have seen The Third Man about a week before this so the young Welles was fresh in my mind).
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
April 27, 2014
"Me and Orson, Orson Welles, we've got a thing goin' on". Well, as this film displays, Welles was quite the player, so I reckon everyone had a thing going on with him, including Zac Efron, I'm sure, seeing as how he's pretty enough to pass for a girl. I never would have imagined that the Richard Linklater film that features Efron would be one of Linklater's anti-commercial films, but hey, I'm glad to see that Efron has some artistic integrity and taste, even though Linklater probably just got him because Ethan Hawke is getting too old to play the promising youth roles that Efron sees here. Well, it's not like Linklater isn't trying to compensate for Hawke's absence, because this is more-or-less "Training Day" for theatre geeks, as it too is about a bright up-and-coming whose dreams go plagued by harsh realities and a mentor whose corrupting power makes him harsh, unforgiving, promiscuous and vulgar. I only mention the "vulgar" part because I like that this film at least taught me that Welles was about as profane as he was profound, and that he was a big jerk, which I don't mind too much, because as much of a genius as he was, he could get away with being Hannibal Lecter. Look forward to the next origin film about Welles titled "Orson Rising Cholesterol Levels", but until then, we have to settle for this Orson Welles biopic for teenagers. Seriously, it stars Zac Efron, and the Shakespearean actress it was able to get is the one who played Juliet in "Romeo [u]+[/u] Juliet", but don't let that scare you, folks, because I'm more than willing to settle for this film before "Orson Rising Cholesterol Levels", for it is about as killer as it can be as a film starring Zac Efron, which isn't to say that its questionable aspects end there.

Among the biggest shortcomings behind the film are natural ones, because as extremely well-interpreted as this minimalist story is, there's no getting around the minimal dramatic depth which limits potential in this lighthearted period piece, fulfilled about as thoroughly as it can be by inspired storytelling, and ironically further limited by fictional touches that are intended to beef up the narrative. On top of being a dramatization of the true story of the early days of Orson Welles' Mercury Theater, the film tells the fictional tale of an aspiring actor who sees his first intimate experience within the theatre in all of its glory and grime, and although Zac Efron and the writing surrounding his Richard Samuels character's story charm enough to endear, the young lead in this film is of limited intrigue compared to the other figures portrayed in this drama, to the film's understanding, reflected by too much attention to fleshing out supporting aspects in this narrative over the central one. While all around compelling, the film has trouble crafting a fictionalized medium for real subject matter that is nearly as intriguing as the subject matter it's supposed to actually support, yet it's not like intrigue isn't limited throughout the narrative by a lack of originality, because even though this is a particularly well-done interpretation of a formula of this type, it's a little too faithful to its tropes as a period melodrama, as surely as it is too faithful to its setting as a period melodrama. A large part of the fun in this film derives from the passionate celebration of the era and themes, yet at the same time, all of the overt dialogue snap and romantic happenings that characterized the theatre scene of the 1930s gets to be too much for you to ground yourself in the context of the film, no matter how much compellingness goes compensated for by sheer entertainment value. Of course, even then, perhaps the fun factor would be a little more prominent if the film wasn't so overlong, flirting with a two-hour runtime with a story of only so much consequence whose interpretation goes dragged out by fun filler and interesting material that, while certainly thoroughly engaging, further shake a sense of dynamicity. There's really not much to complain about in this film, because there's really not much to really get into to begin with, thus, we come back to natural shortcomings, challenged solidly by entertaining direction, charming acting and dynamite writing, but made hard to ignore when joined by such consequential shortcomings as conventions, histrionics and questionable pacing. The film stops just short of being truly excellent, but hey, it's still mighty strong, have its problems, but only so many compared to strengths that entertain, compel and immerse, at least through visual style.

If nothing else, the film is a delight to simply look at, largely because of cinematographer's Dick Pope's crisp, almost lightly golden palette which makes the brighter scenes stunning, the darker scenes rugged, and joins impeccable shot framing in drawing you into a setting which art directors Bill Crutcher, David Doran and Stuart Rose, joined by production designer Laurence Dorman and costume designer Nic Ede, rebuild marvelously, intricately nailing the look of New York City, circa 1937, in a fashion that is both transporting and good-looking in its distinction. The visual style of the film is sharp, to the point of being both aesthetically transcendent and immersive, yet style wouldn't be so effective if it wasn't orchestrated so well by Richard Linklater's airtight directorial performance, which may rank among, if not stand alone as the strongest in the filmmaker's career, utilizing impeccable framing, smoothly snappy editing and tastefully thoughtful pacing to craft a subtly entertaining and respectable atmosphere which endears thoroughly, with the help of cast from which Linklater salvages solid performances. The film boasts a reasonably sizable cast with material that, while not too dramatically weighty, remains challenging, and just about every last member delivers on electric chemistry and exceedingly charismatic individual performances, with leading man Zac Efron being convincing enough in his spirited portrayal of a charmingly ambitious talent whose confidence goes tested by challenges as he fulfills dreams and comes of age to carry the central fictional plot as compelling, despite its limited intrigue. In a big way, Efron is revelatory, but by no means is he the most soaring discovery in this impressive acting vehicle, because even though it can be argues that this film focuses a touch too much on Orson Welles' side of the story, you can completely understand why the spotlight sticks with that layer so intensely, not just because Welles himself was such an intriguing figure, but because newcomer Christian McKay is nothing short of sensational as Welles effortlessly capturing the distinctive mannerisms, behavior, attitude and, for that matter, presence of the legend with such flawlessness that he seems to bring Welles back to life, and captivates every time he steps into view, just as the genius artistic did. Visual style, direction and acting are all subtle strengths, but that's only because they're realized to the point of feeling naturalist, carrying an intriguing narrative that, while lacking in dramatic consequence and in originality, still offers quite a bit of potential as a study on the challenges to meeting ambition, as well as on the brilliance and sleaze within the artistic mind of Orson Welles and the theatre scene of the 1930s. Though limited, potential in this subject matter stands, and as much as it can be, it goes fulfilled by the aforementioned sharp direction and acting about as much as it goes fulfilled by a relatively stellar script by Holly Gent Palmo and Vincent Palmo, Jr., whose layered focus is a little uneven at times, but generally successful in providing extensively intimate characterization to many a memorable figure, both real and fictitious, while nailing the traits of the setting, - arguably a touch too much for you to completely buy the romanticism of the time - providing enough tightness and flare to certain set piece to make up for limitations in storytelling dynamicity, and, of course, delivering on absolutely amazing dialogue, whose sharp humor, crackling wit and overall memorability is so consistently mind-blowing that simply listening to people talk is a delight. There may not quite be enough meat to this story concept to make a truly upstanding final product, but on top of being tasteful and intelligent, the film is thoroughly entertaining, being a fun and memorable opus that at least borders on excellent, and certainly stands firm as Linklater's best film, by a long shot.

when the curtain falls, some unassured story aspects, plenty of conventions, some melodramatic devices, and some aimless spells, all behind a narrative of only so much consequence, obscure bona fide excellence, but just barely, as the handsome visual style, immersive art direction, slickly realized directorial storytelling, solid acting - especially from the show-stealingly revelatory Christian McKay - and a thoroughly well-characterized, extensive, cracklingly clever and all around outstanding script by Holly Gent Palmo and Vincent Palm, Jr., drive "Me and Orson Welles" as an inspired and intelligent period drama that comes close enough to brilliance to endear as, if nothing else, a lot of genuine fun.

3.25/5 - Strong
April 25, 2014
Good film, but I wanted to know more about Orson Welles, not Zac Efron!
March 8, 2014
Richard Linklater is surely one of the best directors( certainly most consistent directors) working today. One of the things that make Linklater stand out is his willingness to challenge himself and experiment with different genres. In his very impressive filmography he has expertly crafted romantic dramas(the Before trilogy), comedy(Dazed and confused), light family entertainment(School of Rock), and experimental animated dramas(Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly).

Here he takes on the very interesting story of an Orson Welles' revolutionary stage production of Julias Caesar.
Linklater seems to have a special fondness and affection for this era of stage production. Set in 1937, New York, his period detail is as lush and detailed as the stage production that he brilliantly recreates. The movie is at heart a simple coming-of-age-story about an impressionable young actor's first break in Broadway. Richard(Zac Efron) can't believe his luck when he lands a job under one of the most brilliant and reputable directors working, the intimidating yet charismatic Orson Welles(Christian McKay).

In his exciting new career Richard meets interesting fellow actors, falls in love, and learns that working beneath an unpredictable, self-proclaimed genius like Welles is both chaotic and challenging. Zac Efron gives a good performance here at the heart of the movie. He conveys the romantic and wide-eyed Richard very well and reveals himself to be a very solid actor. He is helped by a great supporting cast, including Ben Chaplin, Claire Danes and Eddie Marsan.

The standout performance, however, is undoubtedly from Christian McKay, who in his first major role completely embodies Orson Welles. Welles was a very complex personality; He was surely charming and talented but he was also egotistical, manipulative and, at times, exceptionally petty. McKay masters all of the great director's quirks and eccentricities, and his inpersonation is uncanny. McKay is blessed with a powerful and confident screen presence that a character as huge as Orson Welles demands.

This is a very sweet, funny and smart movie that also offers a fascinating interpretation of one of the great masters of cinema. It's another triumph for Richard Linklater, which features an astonishing breakout performance from Christian McKay.
February 12, 2014
A movie about the stage, while at the same time being about one of the masters of cinema. Could it get any better?
Super Reviewer
January 7, 2014
During the viewing of this sweet nostalgic look at backstage life, I wondered how anybody came up with the funding for it! Nobody gets thrown out of a window, no cars explode, there are no scenes of bloody carnage, and there's not even one cute dog. But there is a romanticized slice of honest Americana, a look back at the theatre rehearsals that lead up to a revolutionary production of Julius Caesar, one directed by the 22 year old Orson Welles; framing the tale is also a coming-of-age romance between young Zac Efron and one of two young women he meets as he is hired by Welles to play a bit part in the play--for those with some knowledge of the Mercury Theatre, its fascinating to see a spot-on impersonation of young Joseph Cotten played by Joseph Tupper, but the entire joy of the film is meeting Orson himself in the person of Christian McKay, who seems imbued with the spirit of the man in an uncanny revelatory performance, worth all 107 minutes of the film. This is a film for folks interested in theatre or the cinema, and will doubtless be lost on those in search of realistic action adventures--there's just a hint of early Woody Allen in the film, too--and my hope is that someone is already looking for a another, more complex look at the Boy Genius starring McKay.. 4 stars 11-16-13
November 18, 2013
I actually found this film to be quite entertaining. Zac Efron held his own against the amazing performance of Christian McKay as Orson Welles. The backstage drama that goes into the world of professional acting is all the more exciting when the man in charge is the egocentric, womanizing, and overly ambitious Orson Welles.
November 7, 2013
Zach and Christopher pull off some outstanding acting performances. Brilliant!!
November 3, 2013
I'm still not sure that Zak Ephron was the guy to star here, but the guy who plays Orson Welles is perfect.
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