Maps to the Stars: Film Review

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This is dark, twisted, extreme but amazing. I really enjoyed this for its well-observed, cutting commentary on the Hollywood industry and how it can mess up a person. It also very honest and witty. There are plenty more superlatives but I think the one that sums it up the best is: genius.

The film follows a string of complex characters from Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore), an ageing actress trying to make her comeback but is haunted by her mother, who was a young starlet herself, to Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska), a burn victim who arrives in Los Angeles under mysterious circumstances, Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird) a teen star who is already struggling with his overblown ego and substance abuse, their parents Stafford (John Cusack) a celebrity self-help guru and Cristina (Olivia Williams), Benjie’s yes woman. Robert Pattinson also stars as Jerome, a driver who is trying to make it big in Hollywood but he is grossly underused.

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What I love about this film is that it does not hold back. It bravely focuses on these ugly, vile human beings and shows gross scenes that made me laugh because I was uncomfortable. For example, you see Julianne (superb) wipe her crotch with a scarf after having a quickie in the back of a car, you see her celebrate the death of a child and taking a dump in front of her assistant. These are gross scenes but still very funny. The humour is so dark and you almost feel bad for laughing at them because are worried that you will be judged by other cinema goers.

The dialogue was incredibly sharp and brave and the casting was even better. Moore, Bird and Wasikowska are fantastic. I love how her world slowly unravels as you find out her medical/criminal history and the implications it had on her family. I didn’t quite like the ghost characters at first but after the initial ‘what the fuck?!’ you soon begin to enjoy it. At the end, the characters pretty much implode and the story takes a murderous and sinister turn and I thought yes, this is going to be bleak but juicy yet it didn’t quite have that effect. The terrible CGI of a fire robs the impact of the death of one person because the rest of the film is just so harshly realistic. At the very end, I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening as it was not staged or scripted that powerfully. So the last 10-15 minutes let it down but it wasn’t enough to kill the whole movie for me.

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I loved the scathing, unflinching commentary of fame and pop culture, the in-jokes, the shocking, brutally honest dialogue and extreme scenes. It was brilliant and compelling but it will not please everybody. This is not for the faint-hearted. It is gross, these are vile people and it gets pretty violent towards the end. I loved it and not even the weak ending could put me off.

Released: 26th September

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  1. […] I love a good satire and this is such a scathing portrayal of Hollywood and how the film industry ruins people’s lives. It was hilarious but in an incredibly dark way and I just thought Julianne Moore was perfect! Read review here. […]

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