Movie Review: Maps to the Stars (2014)

source: IMDb

source: IMDb

Julianne Moore is definitely the most under-rated, and Academy snubbed actor in Hollywood, why? She takes on daring roles and aces them, and yet… Let’s see: Boogie Nights(1997) – a junkie; Magnolia(1999) – a neurotic wife; Far from Heaven(2002) – a 50’s housewife deals with a closeted husband, and in love with a black caretaker; A Single Man(2009) – a 60’s glam widow in love with a gay teacher; The Kids Are All Right(2010) – a confused lesbian;Game Change(2012) – Sarah Palin,…an impressive roster no shorter than Meryl Streep‘s, I say, and she is great in satirical comedic role, like Havana in Maps to the Stars, why? She possesses the character: watch me, listen to me, me, me, me, …

Canadian Director, David Cronenberg‘s films are original, sometimes strange, at time poetic, … but often laced with unforeseen story development. So be forewarned!

Havana is a typical neurotic, ageing, well-known movie star who has very little self-esteem. She lives in the shadow of her famous mother, who was a sliver-screen darling once upon a time. She is in therapy dealing with her mother’s issues. Her therapist/masseur/coach is Dr. Stafford Weiss(John Cusack), who helps her to tread on issues that causes her great anxiety. 

Back up a little, Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), arrives in LAX, she asks a limo driver, Jerome Fontana(Robert Pattinson) to take her to Beverley Hills, and she shows him map of Hollywood’s stars mansions. At first, reluctant thinking another wannabe descended in LA, but nevertheless, he acquiesces after seeing 2 $100 bills. In their small talks, uncovered is Jerome himself a struggling actor/screen writer…they are two peas in a pod. 

Apparently Agatha, twitter stalker, is a big fan of Carrie Fisher, and they became friends. Happens, Havana is looking for an assistant, and Carrie and Havana happens to bump into each other at a patio restaurant; Carrie recommends Agatha to Havana. 

After settling in LA, Agatha constantly reading and memorising a script, and we later find out her face and arms were skin grafted.

Jerome is rich and successful, living in a floor to ceiling glass house. His wife, Christina(John Cusack) is their famous child-actor son’s, Benji (Evan Bird), manager. Benji has been sober for over 60 days, and has a sponsor to help him out in moment of weakness with drug addiction. But, Benji is an egoistic, narcissistic paranoid; he treats his agent like turd, calling him a “Jews faggot” in an outburst, for screwing up his schedule. Mom, Christina(Olivia Williams), is a emotional, cliché and protective, who takes constant verbal abuses from his son. While Jerome keeps drilling his “success motivational speeches” to his son’s ears. Can this really be a perfect, good looking family that everyone is envy for? Apparently, as said, every house has its secrets!

Besides the obvious satirical references to some of the movie stars we all know, this film also dealt with all sort of pathological behaviours, all of them in one place: Hollywood. Phoniness, manipulative, shallowness, narcissistic, neurotic, … incest, abuse, fraud and fake best describe those behaviours.

WasikowskaCusack, and Williams are seasoned actors; Pattinson …meh, could have casted anyone; Bird resembles a young Shia LaBeouf

Perhaps, Agatha should stay in Florida, instead of getting suck into this weird universe, where no one likes an outsider.

WATCH…Cheering for our Canadian Cronenberg, another signature piece, and a bloody good movie!




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