Actors Awkwardly Impersonate Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin in ‘Mister Lonely’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 2 (3 votes)

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3/5CHICAGO – The wonder of a filmmaker’s art and perspective is the ability to challenge and reflect the absurdity of our own nature back to us. Few filmmakers have done more to add provocation to that sensibility than Harmony Korine.

Samantha Morton as Marilyn Monroe in Mister Lonely, which is directed by Harmony Korine
Samantha Morton as Marilyn Monroe in “Mister Lonely,” which is directed by Harmony Korine.
Photo credit: O’South

In his first full-length feature film since “Julien Donkey-Boy,” Korine explores the hope of miracles and the sorrow of celebrity impersonation in “Mister Lonely”.

Diego Luna portrays Michael Jackson as an impersonator in Paris. While performing his act, he meets a Marilyn Monroe impersonator (Samantha Morton).

Monroe convinces Jackson to join her commune of other celebrity impersonators including the pope, Madonna, Queen Elizabeth, The Three Stooges, Sammy Davis Jr., Abraham Lincoln, James Dean and Charlie Chaplin (Monroe’s husband).

In a separate story, a priest is bringing food to nearby villagers via airplane. While tossing out rice bags, a nun accidentally falls out of the fuselage. She plummets several thousand feet to Earth and lands unscathed. This causes a stir in the nun’s order and soon her fellow sisters are free falling for the lord.

Diego Luna as Michael Jackson in Mister Lonely, which is directed by Harmony Korine
Diego Luna as Michael Jackson in “Mister Lonely,” which is directed by Harmony Korine.
Photo credit: O’South

There are some fanatically extreme moments in the celebrity impersonation commune. Chaplin is portrayed as a megalomanic monster, Lincoln an angry cusser and The Three Stooges are used for euthanizing some farm animals.

This is all done surrounding the events of what Chaplin calls “the greatest show on Earth” as the impersonators build a theater and prepare an act as their goal in life.

The film has a delicate and deliberate pace that’s counter measured by the cruelty displayed by Chaplin (especially toward Monroe). While all the characters could be assigned symbolic motivations (does Chaplin represent the Hollywood system that eventually killed Monroe?), most just seem like annoying and self-indulgent jokes within director Harmony Korine’s eccentric point of view.

The nun sequence (though not as prominent in the film) is more successful. The Korine stock actor Werner Herzog (also a director) does a very funny turn as a “sincerer than thou” jungle priest.

RELATED IMAGE GALLERY
StarView our full “Mister Lonely” image gallery.

RELATED READING
StarRead more film reviews from critic Patrick McDonald.

His absolution of a pilot before the miracle flight is pure religious bunk and the length of the speech meanders into another level of farcical beauty.

The lingering shots of the nuns in flight have an appealing lyricism that’s also found in Michael “Mr. Lonely” Jackson riding a small motorcycle (complete with a monkey balloon) during the opening credits. These small moments seem much more successful in conveying emotion than the surreal and easy tease of the commune.

Because of the pacing, cruelty and self-indulgence, I can only make a bare recommendation for the film. If anyone is searching for counter programming to the summer blockbuster season, though, Harmony Korine will deliver unto you.

“Mister Lonely” opened on May 30, 2008. In Chicago, the film is playing at the Music Box Theatre.

HollywoodChicago.com staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2008 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Adriana Leonard & Carley Marcelle

    CHICAGO – When two passionate content creators got together, they sought not only to produce a work of entertainment, but a higher philosophy within it. Co-Writers/Directors and Executive Producers Adriana Leonard and Carley Marcelle have created “Beta” A Digital Series, and they are about to launch it.

  • Xfinity Watchathon

    CHICAGO – Comcast announced last week that the Xfinity Watchathon Week 2020 will take place from May 11th through the 17th. Included in the free offerings for customers will be the Hulu originals “Little Fires Everywhere” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and other original shows from EPIX, STARZ and SHOWTIME channels. The Watchathon will be available on the X1, Flex and Xfinity Stream platforms.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
tracker