Mister Lonely

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Mister Lonely
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHarmony Korine
Written byHarmony Korine
Avi Korine
Produced byHarmony Korine
Nadja Romain
Adam Bohling
StarringDiego Luna
Samantha Morton
Denis Lavant
Werner Herzog
James Fox
Anita Pallenberg
CinematographyMarcel Zyskind
Edited byValdís Óskarsdóttir
Paul Zucker
Music byJason "Spaceman" Pierce
Sun City Girls
Distributed byIFC First Take (United States)[1]
Tartan Films (United Kingdom)
Shellac Distribution (France)
Release dates
  • May 22, 2007 (2007-05-22) (Cannes)
  • March 14, 2008 (2008-03-14) (UK)
  • April 30, 2008 (2008-04-30) (US)
  • December 17, 2008 (2008-12-17) (France)
Running time
112 minutes[2]
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$8.2 million[3]
Box office$393,813

Mister Lonely is a 2007 comedy film directed by Harmony Korine and co-written with his brother Avi Korine. The film features an ensemble cast of international actors, including Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Denis Lavant, Werner Herzog, James Fox, Anita Pallenberg and Leos Carax.


A young man living in Paris scratches out a living as a Michael Jackson look-alike, dancing on the streets, public parks, tourist spots and trade shows. During a show in a home for the elderly, he meets a Marilyn Monroe impersonator. Haunted by her angelic beauty, he follows her to a commune in the Scottish Highlands, joining her husband Charlie Chaplin, and her daughter Shirley Temple. Here, the Pope, Elizabeth II, Madonna, James Dean, and other impersonators build a stage in the hope that the world will visit and watch them perform.

A subplot concerns a convent in what seems to be a developing country. One of the nuns survives a fall from an airplane during a mission to deliver food to villages, and discovers that if you are true of heart, God will protect you. All the nuns then begin jumping from planes to show that they are true of heart and protected by God.[4]



Korine conceived of a film about impersonators as a way to explore what he called "the obsessive nature" of the impersonator personality. Rather than mocking or belittling impersonation, Korine claims to have felt a "fondness and empathy" for impersonators since childhood.[5]

Korine came up with the idea for the film after the release of Julien Donkey-Boy, but his drug use and general disillusionment (along with fund-raising difficulties) prolonged the process. In a February 2007 interview with Screen International, he said: "I'd been making movies since I was virtually a kid, and it had always come very easily. At a certain point after the last movie, I started to have this general disconnect from things. I was really miserable with where I was. I began to lose sight of things and people started to become more and more distant. I was burnt out, movies were what I always loved in life and I started to not care. I went deeper and deeper into a dark place and to be honest movies were the last thing I was thinking about – I didn't know if I was going to be alive. My dream was to evaporate. I was unhealthy. Whatever happened during that time, and I won't go into the details, maybe it was something I needed to go through."[3] In a 2003 interview with the New York Post, former girlfriend Chloë Sevigny revealed that the formerly straight edge Korine had become addicted to heroin and methadone while they were together, with Korine's substance abuse issues contributing to the end of their relationship.[6]

Richard Strange, who plays Abraham Lincoln, claimed that Korine often changed scenes and lines as filming progressed.[7]


While shooting the commune scenes, the cast and crew lived together in a Scottish castle (Duncraig Castle, Plockton), and many of the actors remained in their impersonated characters for all or part of the time they were off-camera. Actor Denis Lavant even bathed with his shoes on, as his impersonated character Charlie Chaplin was said to do.

To film the secondary storyline, Korine worked with real skydiving nuns from Spain, sometimes in temperatures of 48 °C (120 °F).[5] Those scenes were filmed in Panama (as specified in the movie's credits).


Half of the music was written and performed by Sun City Girls, with the other half being created by Spiritualized frontman, Jason "Spaceman" Pierce.[8]

  1. "Michael's Opening" (dialogue)
  2. Spank Rock – "Backyard Betty"
  3. Jason Spaceman – "Blues 1"
  4. Jason Spaceman – "Blues 2 (Intro)"
  5. Sun City Girls – "3D Girls"
  6. Jason Spaceman – "Panama 1"
  7. Sun City Girls – "Spook"
  8. Jason Spaceman – "Garden Walk"
  9. Sun City Girls – "Steppe Spiritual"
  10. Jason Spaceman – "Pope in the Bath"
  11. Daniel Rovai – "Red River Valley"
  12. "Nun's Prayer" (dialogue)
  13. Sun City Girls – "Mr. Lonely Viola"
  14. Sun City Girls – "Beryl Scepter"
  15. "Red Riding Hood's Hangman" (dialogue)
  16. Jason Spaceman – "Stooges Harmonica"
  17. "Father Umbrillo's Broken Nation"
  18. Jason Spaceman – "Musicbox Underwater"
  19. Sun City Girls – "Circus Theme"
  20. Sun City Girls – "Vine Street Piano"
  21. Jason Spaceman – "Paris Beach"
  22. Sun City Girls – "Farewell"
  23. Angel Morgan – "Gold Dust"
  24. Aphex Twin – "Btoum-Roumada"

The movie also features "13 Angels Standing Guard 'Round the Side of Your Bed" by A Silver Mt. Zion and Bobby Vinton's "Mr. Lonely" (after which the film is titled), though neither song is included on the soundtrack. The Maid Freed From the Gallows by John Jacob Niles. My Life by Iris Dement.


Korine's largest film to date with a budget of $8.2 million,[3] Mister Lonely earned $386,915 in its first nine months[9] — $167,396 in the United States and $219,519 in other territories.[9]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 47% based on reviews from 72 critics. The site's consensus states: "Less biting or offensive than Korine's earlier works, this frustratingly dull film still maintains the director's trademark odd beauty."[10]


  1. ^ a b "Mister Lonely (2007)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  2. ^ "MISTER LONELY (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  3. ^ a b c "Screen International Magazine, "Only The Lonely" by Fionnuala Halligan, Feb 2, 2007 p34–35" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Harmony-Korine.com – News". Retrieved 2006-12-27.
  5. ^ a b Bishop, Richard. "Harmony Korine". BOMB Magazine. Spring 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Harmony-Korine.com . Interviews & Articles". Archived from the original on May 3, 2008.
  7. ^ Richard Strange (May 1, 2008). Highland Flings. ARTINFO. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
  8. ^ "Mister Lonely Soundtrack". IMDB.com.
  9. ^ a b "Mister Lonely (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  10. ^ "Mister Lonely". Rotten Tomatoes.

External links[edit]