REVIEW: Maps To The Stars

2014, MAPS TO THE STARS

There’s a lot of talk about an actress’ “expiry date” in Hollywood when they get too old. Lucky for audiences, 51-year-old Julianne Moore has avoided that deadline. Her character in Maps To The Stars? Not so much, but that’s also a very good thing for us.  It means we get to enjoy watching Julianne tear into another fantastic character.  She’s the centerpiece of the messy but intriguing ensemble piece that is David Cronenberg‘s new flick.  The film isn’t as off-the-wall as some of Cronenberg’s other work (Crash, The Fly, Spider), but this still will turn off a lot of mainstream audiences with its odd twists.

miaJulianne plays Havana Segrand, an aging actress in Hollywood who is two stops away from the crazy house.  She is desperate to play her mother, who died in a fire in a new movie, but she’s still waiting to hear from the director.  Then there’s Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird), a young movie star who you can’t help but compare to Justin Bieber.  He visits kids in the hospital for the good publicity but he’s an arrogant jerk to everyone around him.  He lives at home with parents. Mom Christina (Olivia Williams) handles his business deals, while his Dad, Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) is a celebrity self-help guru.

We also meet Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) as she arrives in Hollywood and she tells her driver (Robert Pattinson) that she’s in town to help Carrie Fisher (yes, that Carrie Fisher) with her new book after meeting her on Twitter. Havana is in need of a personal assistant, so Agatha quickly enters that house of crazy in order to support herself.  There’s a lot of twists and reveals about the characters, and lots of parallels between the characters as well.  It’s all somewhat interesting, but it’s Julianne who really keeps this afloat and takes things to another level when she’s onscreen.

Age is not making Julianne more conservative.  She’s as bold as ever as she willing to do a whole scene sitting on the can trying to work through constipation. Seriously.  Everything else in the film pales in comparison to Julianne’s tour-de-force performance, and that works in its favour since it is clunky at times.

Grade:  B+


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