Behind The Bonkers Movie Seemingly Inspired By Celine Dion
Aline, The Voice of Love, a film written, directed by, and starring Lalérie Vemercier, is currently screening Outside of Competition at the 2021 Cannes Festival. It tells the story of a young Quebec girl named Aline Dieu who discovers her talent for singing and quickly becomes a worldwide musical sensation. The youngest of 14 kids, Aline's journey also involves searching for a father figure, whom she seems to find in her manager Guy-Claude Kamar. Despite their massive age difference, the teenager and the middle-aged divorcee eventually become lovers and … Okay, fine, you got me. I lied earlier. Don't start having hope for the world yet, though, because what I mean is that the film is actually the creation of Valérie Lemercier, but I figured that if she can take a real person and slightly change their name for entertainment purposes then, dammit, so can I.
You don't need to know a lot about music to realize that this story is seemingly an unauthorized biopic of Celine Dion, right down to the real singer also coming from a huge family and eventually marrying her producer and manager, René Angélil, who was 26 years her senior. The movie doesn't appear to try hiding it since, besides all the biographical connections between the two, Aline also sings actual Celine songs in the movie, so … why wasn't this an official Dion film to begin with?
Well, while the music is an important part of Aline, the story itself is primarily about the young girl's relationship with Kamar. And while Dion and Angélil long claimed that their relationship remained professional and appropriate riiiight up until Celine became legal and the two fell in non-prosecutable love, some people suspect it was … Let's be diplomatic and just say that some people suspect it was very not that. And since Angélil passed away in 2016, maybe Lemercier felt it inappropriate to bring attention to his and Celine's relationship when he's not around to defend himself.
It's not like the movie has anything bad to say about him/Kamar, though, as the trailers make it look like what the two had was real, non-creepy love. "See? There's nothing weird about a teenager getting with a 40-something-year-old man!" the movie seems to be saying. But Aline doesn't actually believe its own message because, throughout the movie, the titular character is played by Valérie Lemercier herself, who is in her late 50s.
In fact, Lemercier and Sylvain Marcel, the actor playing Aline's daddy stand-in/manager (daddyger), are the exact same age, both being born in 1964. What's even funnier is that we don't know Marcel's birth month, and since Lemercier was born in March, there is a good chance that she is older than the man. Yet, she plays the main role in a story specifically about how it's totally not weird for a young person to fall in love with a much older man. And it's not like this was Lemercier desperately wanting to be involved with the movie in any way. She also wrote and directed it, so there really was no reason not to cast a genuine young person to make out with someone a quarter-century older than them. Other than everyone on the film crew feeling that that would've been icky.
Was Dion and Angélil's relationship inappropriate? Aline doesn't think so but, because of its weird casting, the movie is the absolutely worst way to defend it. It would be like a lawyer claiming that their client would never bite out someone's throat, only to constantly show up to court in an armored turtleneck.
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Top Image: Gaumont