Opening 23 Dec 2021
It’s 1932 in Quebec; young Sylvette and Anglomard are getting married. Anglomard says he “doesn’t want any children but plans to concentrate all his love on dear Sylvette.” They live in a small house near a forest, where Anglomard works, until he takes over a small hotel. About 35 years later, their 14th and last child, daughter Aline, is born. She grows up in the large, 57-member, musical Dieu family, where all play various instruments and sing, even accompanying events as a band. Her brothers’ first names are always “Jean” with second names such as Jean-Bobin, Jean-Claudin, or Jean-Sylvain. At age 12, Aline sings a solo, at yet another wedding. The family recognizes that there is a future for her in music. Mother Sylvette (Sylvain Marcel) and brother Jean-Bobin (Antoine Vézina) write a song for her and send it via cassette to music producer, Guy-Claude Kamar (Sylvain Marcel). Kamar also recognizes this new talent and provides her with possibilities to perform; this young career takes off. His advice: don’t act cocky or self-confident. Pretend to be worried and insecure; fans will admire you more. As a teenager, she, having grown up speaking French, takes a break to improve her English and also to have her crooked teeth adjusted. By age 20 Aline Dieu is at the top of the charts and on the road through Canada and Europe, including a song contest in Dublin. She is always accompanied by her mother. Aline confesses her love for manager Guy-Claude Kamar. In spite of Sylvette’s resistance, the ties between Aline and Guy end in marriage; they have a son named Junior and later twins. Her immense income provides residency in a huge villa. As Guy, slowly too old for the job, remains at home, she shares her stories on the road with her make-up artist, Fred (Jean-Noël Brouté).
Aline, The Voice of Love opens with “this is fiction based on the life of Céline Dion.” Research shows that this basic story is actually very factual. She WAS born in Canada, the youngest of 14 siblings. Her mother and brother did write a song for her, which went to a producer. Her career did take off at a young age; she toured the world, married her manager, had three sons, including twins, and won many awards. Fictitious in the film are the names and perhaps small details added to carry the plot. Valérie Lemercier directs and plays the lead of Aline Dieu. Considering that she is also a singer, one wonders why she did not sing the songs herself. In the end, however, they were perfectly presented, via voice over by Victoria Sio. I counted 41 songs in the credits and recognized many of them during the film such as “My Heart Will Go On” and “What a Wonderful World.” There is one version of “Love Me Tender” as a tribute to Elvis Presley, who died before she was born, but with whom she had a close artistic connection. Céline Dion, at age 53, is still performing, although perhaps traveling less. If you missed an opportunity to enjoy her on stage, then do not miss this film with 128 minutes of inspiring music and an extraordinary career. (Becky Tan)