This Wild Celine Dion Biopic Has An Adult Actress Playing The Singer As A 5-Year-Old

"Like 'Bohemian Rhapsody' if they shrank Rami Malek and made him play his own teeth."

celine dion biopic cannes aline photo

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Music biopics tend to be fairly stale affairs, following a predictable formula: the early childhood; the discovery of talent; the rise; the intoxication of success; the fall; the end-of-career revival. So whenever a film breaks with this formula, it deserves some attention — particularly when the status quo is shattered by a film as completely bonkers as Aline, a fictional look at the life of Celine Dion.

The film, which premiered at Cannes this past week, makes a number of wild gambits. First off, though “inspired” by the life of the singer, it was not approved by her, meaning it holds the rare distinction of being an unauthorised biopic. As a result, though Aline follows Dion’s story fairly closely, it features none of her music, and instead rests on songs written for the movie.

That’s wild enough. But then there’s the decision to have the same 57-year-old actress play the singer over the course of her entire life, including as a five-year-old. According to The New York Times‘ Kyle Buchanan, the uncanny effect is enhanced by a lot of CGI trickery — think Benjamin Button on acid. “As a cinematic presence, pre-teen Aline looks less like our main character and more like she’s ready to terrorise Vera Farmiga in the next Conjuring movie,” Buchanan writes.

As to the actual quality of the film, critics are intensely divided. Though Aline received a five-minute standing ovation at Cannes, most of those who have seen it have found themselves unable to overlook its inherent weirdness. Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair calls it ” one of the strangest approaches to a biopic I’ve yet seen”, while Peter Debruge of Variety describes the film as “an unabashedly corny homage” to the life of Dion.

No Australian distributor has yet been lined up for Aline, so audiences will have to wait a while to experience this thing themselves. That’s a shame — at the very least, it sounds like a unique viewing experience, to say the least.