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'Me and Orson Welles': movie review

'Me and Orson Welles' is a heartfelt movie about a theater-struck high school teenager unceremoniously ushered into the mercurial world of Orson Welles.

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Zac Efron, left, and Claire Danes are shown in a scene from, 'Me and Orson Welles'.

Liam Daniel/CinemaNX Films One Limited/AP

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Richard Linklater's "Me and Orson Welles" is one of the sweetest and most heartfelt movies ever made about a life in the theater. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has closely followed Linklater's career, which encompasses everything from "School of Rock" to "Waking Life" to the great young-love duet, "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset." He has both a populist's touch and a humanist's eye. It's a great and rare combination, and it serves him particularly well in this movie about a theater-struck high school teenager unceremoniously ushered into the fabulous world of that sacred monster, Orson Welles.

Quite by chance, Richard Samuels (Zac Efron) is cast in the bit role of Lucius in Welles's daring adaptation of "Julius Caesar," which is in its final week of rehearsal. (The actors are uniformed as Italian Fascists.) He enters into a world within a world where emotions run as high offstage as on and everyone is in fearful awe of the 22-year-old boy genius (Christian McKay).

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