We’re just a few weeks away from the release of Aline, where French actress Valérie Lemercier plays a thinly veiled version of Celine Dion named Aline Dieu from the age of 5 to 50. That may sound like a batshit-crazy idea for a movie, but Lemercier (who also directs) is a true talent and the trailer has us captivated.
The focus of the movie is Dieu’s romantic partnership with her manager and the many obstacles placed in their way due to their vast age difference, mirroring Dion’s relationship with her late husband René Angélil. But there are also plenty of musical moments where French singer Victoria Sio does her best to replicate Dion’s distinctive vocals.
The movie has a 71% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, though many critics were less than impressed by the decision to have Lemercier portray the singer as a child. “Shrunk to Hobbit size and Facetuned into near-oblivion, Lemercier scampers, preens and unnerves,” wrote Kyle Buchanan of The New York Times. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it: Not Pen15, not John C. Reilly at the beginning of Walk Hard, not even a fully grown Martin Short playing a psychotic 10-year-old in Clifford. As a cinematic presence, Preteen Aline looks less like our main character and more like she’s ready to terrorize Vera Farmiga in the next Conjuring movie.”
Music rights are always a tough issue for a movie like this, so don’t expect to hear many of Dion’s big hits in Aline. And sadly, don’t expect to see a re-creation of the opening to the 2002 VH1 Divas Las Vegas concert where Dion performed AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” as a duet with Anastacia and Meredith Brooks on guitar. As you can see from this video, it’s a peak Dion moment featuring air guitar and a lyrical gender flip. “He was a fast machine,” she sings. “He kept his motor clean/He was the best damn man I had ever seen/He had the sightless eyes, telling me no lies/Knocking me out with his American thighs.”
Dion has played Las Vegas countless times over the past two decades, and she’s covered all sorts of unexpected songs during that time, but this is her one attempt at an AC/DC tune, or really anything in the hard-rock canon besides the occasional Queen tune.
She was forced to cancel her 2022 North American dates this year due to “severe and persistent muscle spasms,” but she is scheduled to begin an extensive European run on May 25 at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham, England. Maybe she’ll surprise fans there by playing “Whole Lotta Rosie,” “She’s Got Balls,” “Soul Stripper,” or “Big Balls,” but we wouldn’t bet on it.