Me and Orson Welles (2008)

Entertainment Rating: 3 of 5

I was first interested in this film after reading Orson Scott Card’s review. (Let me interject that I read a lot of OSC’s reviews - on books, movies, etc. - and I find that I agree with him on the majority of what he writes, I’m not just a fan of his sci-fi literature). I was a little disappointed overall, but after watching the film I re-read the review and found that there was a lot to what OSC wrote, but it didn’t make the movie much better to me. For instance, “we experience the thrilling moments of this production with the same emotional response that the audience of the time must have had” - I wouldn’t say I was ever thrilled, maybe impressed.

Zac Efron did an alright job, though he seemed to have too much of a lifeless expression throughout the movie

Moral Rating: 2 of 5

The PG-13 rating was supposedly for sexual dialog (and there was too much of it), but should have also included a warning for profanity and blasphemy. We ended up turning on the ClearPlay about a third of the way into the movie.

OSC sums it up quite well:
“For this film is, at core, a study in genius and what people put up with from their geniuses. Welles was, like many so-called geniuses, incredibly strong-willed and needy at the same time. He had the force to make things happen, and the sheer terror and inner emptiness (which the film makes explicit) that make it impossible for him to let others get their full credit. 
The result is that he makes other people miserable even as he brings out the best in them. As the film explains, the actors and crew put up with his miserable treatment of them because they know that by staying close to him, by sacrificing their own pride and honor to bear his impositions on them, their own careers will advance, and they will be part of great art. 
This much we have seen before, but the film goes further. It makes us see that while it is wonderful to be part of a great production, in the end what you give up by subjecting yourself to a man like Welles is nothing short of your soul. We feel the sadness of young Richard as a woman he loves and fought for walks out of his life -- but it is even sadder to watch that woman leave, because we know that she has sold herself and it will not be worth the price she paid.”
This “further” bit is one of the few things Card points out that I really liked about the movie. It was also nice to see the film not end on a tragic note, and to emphasize that whatever happens to us in the short term, we have our whole lives ahead of us to become whatever we want to become.

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