Friday, April 5, 2013

Mister Lonely (2007) Review

Mister Lonely poster
Director: Harmony Korine
Stars: Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Denis Lavant
Genre: Drama

Oddly enough this film about flying nuns and a commune of celebrity impersonators is director Harmony Korine's most conventional film to date. 

It's a film about a Marilyn Monroe impersonator who meets a Michael Jackson impersonator and invites him to come live at her commune for impersonators, among which are her abusive husband Charlie Chaplin, Abraham Lincoln, Little Red Riding Hood, James Dean, The Three Stooges, the Queen, the Pope, Madonna, and so on and so forth. 

The impersonations are done pretty well; charmingly well I'd even say. You do have to keep in mind here though that the actors are not playing celebrities, the actors are playing impersonators playing celebrities. Which makes any unfaithfulness forgivable. I'd like to say though that I think the performances in this film gave the celebrities even more depth and emotion than the real celebrities' public personas do. Nonetheless the performances were good. Especially Samantha Morton and Denis Lavant. 

The problem with Mister Lonely is that once the novelty of watching Abraham Lincoln curse at The Three Stooges or The Three Stooges shooting sheep with shotguns or Charlie Chaplin fingering Marilyn Monroe or Buckwheat giving the Pope a bath or hearing Little Red Riding Hood sing the incredibly dark "The Maid Freed from the Gallows" wears off there really isn't much more to this film. Imagine what this film would be if it had been regular people instead of celebrity impersonators. It's nearly complete novelty. Very early in the film we realize the film will probably go one of two ways: (spoilers) Either Marilyn Monroe will finally leave an abusive Charlie Chaplin and fall in love with Michael Jackson, or the Michael Jackson impersonator will realize he's not being true to himself and stop impersonating and live a "normal" life. Just because the film defies the former choice by having Marilyn Monroe hang herself doesn't mean it's defying convention because it still uses the equally stereotypical "Be Yourself" ending. It's telling an old story with an overused moral that has been done many times much better. But that's only the film's first plotline; it has but a second as well. 

Celebrity impersonators in Mister Lonely

The second, much more minor, plotline going on is about a nun who falls out of a plane (spoilers) and survives. Then more and more nuns begin jumping out of planes without parachutes, as they believe that if you truly believe in God you will not die. This actually works for them. Due to these miracles the nuns are invited to the Vatican. On their way to the Vatican the plane they are flying in crashes and all the nuns die. This plotline is just fantastic. The film is worth watching for these few scenes alone. I must say watching nuns fall out of planes is quite satisfying. It's unfortunate that this is the severely more minor plotline of the film (although I'm not sure that it would have been able to carry an entire film on its own had it been the main one). 

Skydiving nuns in Mister Lonely

The film's soundtrack is also worth noting as exceptionally great, as should be expected from a film named after the fantastic Bobby Vinton song. 

It's an okay film, and if I didn't have a high standard for Korine's work it may have gotten a slightly higher rating. It's still better than most of the terrible films coming out, but still sadly a disappointment. Korine's directing and camerawork is impressive and the idea of pairing two plotlines, one very hopeful and the other incredibly bleak, was an interesting one but didn't really work out too fantastically. Not a bad film, but nothing special. 

Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe in Mister Lonely

Favorite line from the film: "Sometimes when I look at you, you seem more like Adolf Hitler than Charlie Chaplin."
also the whole Buckwheat part where he's talking about women and chickens is golden.

2.5/5 stars

Purchase Mister Lonely on Amazon: DVD - Stream

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