Marilyn Monroe finds Michael Jackson in Paris and takes him home. In reality, a young woman who lives her life impersonating Marilyn Monroe meets a young man who professionally (smalltime) impersonates Michael Jackson and takes him to her home which is “in the Highlands,” a commune where she resides with other impersonators, including her husband as Charlie Chaplin and her daughter as Shirley Temple. She believes that her new friend will fit right in with her fellow lodgers, and he does — with James Dean and Renard and Madonna and Little Red Riding Hood, Abraham Lincoln, the pope, and the queen of England.
Mr. Lonely is funny, touching and heartbreaking. It is also heartWARMING and uplifting. Everyone loves Michael, except Marilyn’s jealous husband. Complications arise, but all problems are dwarfed by the residents’ plans to — yes — put on a show.
Their show, which a handful of neighbors attend, is marvelously corny, appropriately derivative and immensely moving. Among the queen’s lines as the stage show’s epilogue:
“Without you [the audience] we would be nothing.”
“…there’s no truer soul than those who impersonate. For we live through others in order to keep the spirit of wonder alive.”
[We} “search out the splendor and poetry of it all.”
Anita Pallenberg is the queen of England. Samantha Morton is just right, and moving, as Marilyn. Denis Lavant is an English-speaking surprise as Charlie. But it is Diego Luna as Michael who is absolutely charismatic, dirty dancing and all.
A bizarre subplot, the place of which in the structure I have yet to fathom, has Werner Herzog as a quite convincing missionary priest.
If you are interested in theater, in show business, in celebrity — if you have ever enjoyed a fairy tale — if you love cinema, Mr. Lonely is for you.
I am indebted for information to Paul Martin of Melbourne, Australia (imdb).
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NEWS OF VIVIEN LEIGH
This fall, according to the Hurriyet Daily News, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London will offer an exhibit in its Theatre and Performance Galleries of some of the materials from its Vivien Leigh collections. For more information on the exhibit go to Hurriyet Daily News’ site for 8/17/2013. Many thanks to my collaborator BKG — and to the Daily News! — for bringing this to my attention.
NEXT POST Friday September 20