Yes, I've already seen it, and yes, I do feel smug.
It was absolutely amazing. As a huge Zac fan, my expectations for this film were incredibly high and it not only met but exceeded every one of them.
Me and Orson Welles - M&OW to you fangirls ;) - is based on a novel by Robert Kaplow about a young 17 year old, Richard Samuels, who manages to talk his way into a role in the Orson Welles production of Julius Caesar. During the week leading up to the play, Richard [Zefron] not only learns about himself but also about human nature.
When you're doing a film - specifically a period piece based on actual events and adapted from a novel - the cast has to be perfect in order to lift it off of the ground and the acting in this movie was faultless. First off, as Orson Welles, Christian McKay was incredible! You felt compelled to watch him every moment he was on screen; he had a sense of power about him and you felt like you really knew this man by the time the film was over, as opposed to not getting a sense of what Welles was about. Claire Danes, too, was great. Her acting was very understated and subtle but it enticed you - each time she appeared, you were curious to find out more about her, listen to her take on a situation. And Zac? Well, where do I start? ...His performance blew all of his previous ones out of the water. That he was able to hold his own against both Christian and Claire definitely showed his potential as an actor and excited my curiosity to see what he will do in the future (I wonder if he values his down-time? Maybe he wouldn't mind filming constantly and keeping me happy). His character had the right balance of maturity and wide-eyed youthfulness - specifically in his scenes with Sonja [Claire], you see just how young and sometimes clueless he is. The range he showed was more varied than ever before; he was able to be angered and confused, confident but shy, slightly scheming but trustworthy and I was more than impressed.
Also considering the fact that the film takes place over only a week, the cast managed to create a connection with the audience in a way that lesser actors would have failed to do.
If Richard Linklater doesn't deserve recognition during award season then I don't know who does. The way he was able to transform Isle of Man into 1930's NYC was astounding. Not for one second did anything betray their real location. Somehow, you were completely submerged into this film. Particularly in one of the final scenes of the opening night of Orson's production I was...amazed. He managed to bring this piece alive even with showing only a few scenes. When the play ended I pinned my hands to the side of the chair, resisting my urge to clap as the actors took their bows.
If you hadn't planned to see this film, please go and see it and tell everyone you know with you - you will be missing out on this year's best, most intricate film if you don't.