In Paris, a young American who works as a Michael Jackson lookalike meets Marilyn Monroe, who invites him to her commune in Scotland, where she lives with Charlie Chaplin and her daughter, Shirley Temple.
A series of hazy 8mm vignettes, accompanied by a soft, lilting voice over, in which girls skulk around schoolyards, spray graffiti, drink, smoke, pose and embrace, evoking the loneliness, confusion and overwhelming wonder of growing up.
"O, mio babbino caro" plays as a woman skates gracefully. In contrast, little is graceful and daddy is not dear in Julien's world. His father listens to blues wearing a gas mask; dad prods, lectures, and derides Julien as well as Julien's brother and pregnant sister, while grandma attends to her dog. Julien is different, schizophrenic. He wears gold teeth. He bowls, sings, worships, and chats with a group of young adults with disabilities. His sister's child is probably his own. He talks on the phone, imagining it's his mother, who died in childbirth years before. He may be a murderer of children. From his point of view (perhaps), the film follows this odd family for a few weeks.Written by
Much is made of the fact that this is the first American film to be certified by the strictly realist Danish Dogma group. But unlike Celebration or Breaking the Waves, this film is a mess. It centers on a schizophrenic young man in Queens. The movie consists of disjointed scenes. Eventually, a plot develops when Julien's pregnant sister played by Chloe Sevigny has a miscarriage, and Julien steals the dead baby from the hospital, takes it home, and loves it. Until those scenes, the movie just goes from one place to another, occasionally engendering giggles, but not providing anything to grab hold of. Ewen Bremner, memorable in Mojo, gets totally under the skin of Julien, but total immersion by an actor in the role of a disconnected person does not make for a watchable movie.
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