Mister Lonely

Mister Lonely ★★★★½

It's always difficult to know where to begin a review of a Harmony Korine film. They're always so layered and beautifully bizarre that it's hard to find a jumping off point. I think Mister Lonely is easily Korine's most accessible film, followed by Spring Breakers, but I also feel that because of this, it's also his least "Korine" film. Don't get me wrong, it's weird, but it's not that kind of aggressive, get in your face weird, that you would get from Gummo or Trash Humpers, or even Julien Donkey-Boy. I guess I would say that Mister Lonely is more serene. Harmony Korine likes to show his viewers the beauty in human ugliness, and in comparison to the rest of his films, there's very little ugliness to be found here.

Not to say that this is a bad thing. There's plenty of beauty to be found. Physical beauty and inner beauty, both. In this escapade, Korine leads us through what gives us our identity and makes us who we are, and how who we are on the outside can be changed to match who we are on the inside. And what better way to show this then by taking us to a commune of celebrity impersonators who live as who they really want to be. It's perhaps the only place you'll ever see Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Abe Lincoln, the pope, and the Three Stooges in one place. There's a great amount of tenderness in this film, which is again out of character for Harmony Korine, but it's handled marvelously, shying back when it dances too close to unnecessary sentimentality.

I would also say that this is one of Korine's most lyrical films. The soundtrack is superb and feels just as essential to the story as the images. And I'll say that regardless of how ridiculous it seems, the skydiving nun sequences are gorgeous. Mister Lonely has more than its fair share of surrealism, but it leans more toward a pleasant dream than a gritty nightmare. The cast is excellent as well. Diego Luna delivers a beautifully earnest performance as the lonely Michael Jackson impersonator, and though his role is relatively small, Werner Herzog steals the show when he's on screen.

This being Harmony Korine's most out of character film, I think I must say that it's my least favorite of his feature works. But that doesn't mean that I love it any less.

Matisse liked this review