How do you tell the story of global superstar Céline Dion without churning out yet another insipid, bog-standard biopic? Ask veteran French actress Valérie Lemercier, who directs and stars in Aline, an unofficial biopic masquerading as a heightened fairytale which chronicles Dion’s career from her humble beginnings in her native Quebec to a Vegas residency by the way of her Oscars performance of ‘My Heart Will Go On’.
While the singer’s songs are present throughout, this freely inspired fiction doesn’t feel like the average sanitised piece shackled by the subject’s estate: it laudably avoids dipping into hagiography by not being afraid to lean into more eccentrically offbeat and humorous moments. It does so in a measured and honest way, and the manner with which the director handles temporal ellipses keeps the pace from lagging.
Lemercier is a force of nature throughout, without resorting to caricature, and Danielle Fichaud, who plays her chaperoning mother, is note-perfect throughout.
All in all, Aline – The Voice of Love is a heartfelt work that’s a cut above what Bohemian Rhapsody and Respect have given us. Chapeau!
Aline (Aline – The Voice of Love) / D: Valérie Lemercier (France, Canada, 2020), with Valérie Lemercier, Sylvain Marcel, Danielle Fichaud. Starts: Dec 23.