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Mister Lonely

4.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Only Harmony Korine could weave Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, her daughter Shirley Temple, and flying nuns into a hypnotically funny and truly poignant tale of the instability behind fanaticism and the redemption we can hope to find in one another. The film follows a lonely Michael Jackson impersonator who is invited by a beautiful Marilyn Monroe to a commune in the Scottish Highlands full of other impersonators, including the Queen of England, Madonna, Sammy Davis Jr., and James Dean. In a parallel storyline, the incomparable Werner Herzog plays a Latin American priest who learns his missionary of nuns can literally fly. (IFC Films)

Following an eight-year hiatus, Harmony Korine returns triumphantly with Mister Lonely, a more traditionally structured drama than his previous experiments, Gummo and Julien Donkey Boy. First recognized for writing the Larry Clark film, Kids, Korine ruled the 1990s for expressing disenchanted youth. As his previous films focused on self-destructive characters, Mister Lonely is a departure though it still points to Korine's interest in the carnivalesque. In this far-fetched fairy tale, a Michael Jackson impersonator (Diego Luna) living in Paris is invited by a Marilyn Monroe look-alike (Samantha Morton) to join her commune of misfits in a remote Scottish castle. Upon arrival, Michael meets the likes of Charlie Chaplin (Denis Lavant), Abe Lincoln, Madonna, the Queen of England (Anita Pallenberg), and the Pope (James Fox), who is usually drunk. As a dark romance unfolds between Marilyn and Michael, a second narrative involving missionary nuns in Panama unfolds, revealing stunning footage of them jumping out of planes sans parachutes to test faith. Their airplane is piloted by Father Umbrillo, played by Werner Herzog, who at this point could be called Korine's patron saint. The absurdist, comitragic plot challenges the viewer's suspension of disbelief, and is much less reality-based than Korine's previous movies. His filmic experiments work best when the nuns' story intertwine with the impersonators', presenting deep commentary on faith, embodying another person, and escapism. Throughout, rich color and costuming provide a visually provocative experience. As each film of Korine's is unique in structure and approach, Mister Lonely has been long anticipated and will prod fans to guess what Korine has up his sleeve next. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Denis Lavant, James Fox, Werner Herzog
  • Directors: Harmony Korine
  • Writers: Harmony Korine, Avi Korine
  • Producers: Adam Bohling, Agnès B., Ann Carli, Charles-Marie Anthonioz, David Reid
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: November 18, 2008
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001DJ7PQY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,960 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mister Lonely" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian E. Erland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 26, 2008
Format: DVD
Synopsis: If the famous 20th century existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre were to produce a film the '07 cinematic release `Mister Lonely' would be that film. This is a surreal tale of alienation and disconnectedness as played out by a group of impersonators living in a rural mansion estate in France. Michael Jackson (Diego Luna) is the newest arrival to the commune joining; Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Abe Lincoln, the Pope, the Queen of England, Sammy Davis Jr., Madonna, James Dean, the Three Stooges, Little Red Riding Hood and the diminutive Shirley Temple and Buckwheat. They all live out there celebrity delusions 24/7 and for all intents and purposes have become who they idolize thus losing the ability to re-connect with their true selves.

While living and relating to this community of would-be-celebrities Michael slowly begins to see the folly of it all and contemplates leaving the safe confines of the commune and face the harsh world outside without the guise and pretense of being someone else. The question is whether he is strong enough to put aside his celebrity persona and enter the mainstream unknown and alone.

There is also an intermittent secondary storyline concerning a Catholic Priest and a group of Nuns working in a remote area of Latin America. During a flight in a small plane piloted by the Priest one of the Sisters falls out the open cargo door and somehow survives without injury. She believes God has performed a miracle and convinces the other Sisters to test their faith by jumping out of the plane without a parachute, telling them if they truly believe "God will be your parachute".
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Format: DVD
Our scene opens with the crooning of Mister Lonely, the classic 1960's tune by Bobby Vinton whilst our young Michael Jackson impersonator glides slowly across the blue sky on a bike with a dangling plush monkey, darting about behind him. Trying to make a living as Michael Jackson(Diego Luna) on the streets of Paris seems to be uneasy, and we see our Michael frustrated although he's quite a ringer. A job booked for him at a senior citizens home gives him some enjoyment as he tells them not to die, and dances his way into meeting a new acquaintance, Marilyn Monroe(Samantha Morton).

Now that he's met Marilyn, there has been new life breathed into him, as she invites him to live along with her and around twenty other impersonators like themselves, in a beautiful castle far from the rest of the world. Though hesitant to leave the comfortability of his room with all the things that have served him well, Michael agrees to move to the commune.

Michael arrives to a warm welcome by his fellow celebrities Charlie Chaplin, Abraham Lincoln, Madonna, James Dean, Sammy Davis Jr., The Pope, The Queen of England, Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Stooges and Buckwheat, although many of them wonder 'why is he here?'

Mister Lonely is surreal, and beautiful with a soundtrack including gorgeous '13 angels standing guard 'round the side of your bed' by A Silver Mt. Zion, and the ethnic 'Mulima Hale' by Salome Nolega & Girls. With images that will re-enter your head for days and weeks after viewing, and a brilliant subplot to reconsider upon.

While watching this film, especially scenes toward the middle involving tense and off-the-wall scenes from the commune I found myself uncomfortable and my attention waning, but in retrospect that is exactly the way it should be.
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Format: DVD
There is a certain idiosyncratic appeal to this small 2008 piece of strange whimsy thanks to Harmony Korine's (Gummo) wholly individualistic filmmaking style. Co-written with his brother Avi, he has created an admittedly weird if visually arresting film that opens with a slow-motion shot of a man in a Michael Jackson outfit, complete with white mask, riding a bicycle with a stuffed monkey attached by a wire flying in the tailwind. This is all accompanied by Bobby Vinton's 1964 falsetto-tinged pop hit, which shares the film's title. However, the movie itself is hamstrung by a disjointed narrative, thinly developed characters, and lethargic pacing that makes the film seem much longer than its 112-minute running time. That's too bad because Korine explores the fallacies of identity with a surprising dexterity. It's just that he can't consistently maintain the uniqueness of his story concept beyond the original set-up.

The protagonist is indeed a Michael Jackson impersonator who performs for change on the streets of Paris. Actually a reticent Mexican expatriate who paints faces on eggs to pass the time in his room, he gets excited when asked to entertain at a rest home. There he meets a kindred spirit in a curvaceous Marilyn Monroe impersonator, who promptly invites him to a castle and farm commune in the Scottish Highlands inhabited by a motley crew of fellow celebrity impersonators. We meet Marilyn's husband, a Charlie Chaplin impersonator, and their moppet daughter, who pretends to be Shirley Temple. Surprisingly, just when you expect Korine to take us on a flight of random fancy, the story takes a more predictable turn into a love triangle of sorts and moves slowly toward a downbeat resolution.
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