Maps to the Stars (2014)
March 15, 2015 8:02 AM - Subscribe

A Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.
posted by ellieBOA (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This was one of mine and the Mrs fave watches recently. It could even be Cronenberg's apex. Its heavy and dark as all geddout. If you don't deal well with dark & heavy you should probably skip this one. If you can deal, then I highly recommend.
posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 3:57 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have a hard time recommending this one, but I must admit it stuck with me. I'd walked into it expecting to see a very different film based on the trailer: The song in the background of the trailer suggested more dark quirk than dark heaviness and I'd read an interview with Cronenberg saying it was darkly funny, and I suppose it was (hey hey hey... goodbye!).

It looked gorgeous, but the performances by and large felt really stilted inauthentic to me, particularly in the first half -- I suppose that's Cronenberg's point, in a way. When one character 3/4 of the way through the film confessed the key to the whole mystery of the central family, there was a roll of nervous laughter across the half-packed theater I was in. It didn't quite land the way I think it was intended to. Same thing with that particular character's final scene by the edge of the pool. All the characters seemed to be thinking they were in different movies but were dropped into a different one. I don't have to like all the characters to like a movie, but they do have to be convincing. To me, only the Havana and Agatha characters seemed real.

Things I liked: The inky blue stars on the children by the pool were a lovely and haunting touch. I had mixed feelings about the casting of John Cusack in this particular role but the speech he gives Agatha in the hotel between a tender kiss on the forehead was absolutely chilling.

I liked Julianne Moore's performance quite a lot (the blonde! the exhausted, over-exercisedness! the hoop earrings! constipation as metaphor!), but placing equal focus on Havana seemed to weaken Agatha's story. Had Havana been more of a secondary character, she would have been more of a contrast: both Agatha and Havana are walking Hollywood ghosts, but what mattered most was Agatha's reaction to Havana and not the other way around.

One thing that didn't resolve for me was the schizophrenic aspect. I suppose Cronenberg's point was that Havana and Benjie) were both products of incest (one literally, one metaphorically) which explains the visions. I just didn't connect with the characters enough to care about the message or the tragedy of it all.
posted by mochapickle at 5:50 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

Wait is this the Bruce Wagner "Maps to the Stars" that he was shopping around for twenty years? Lots of promotion for it shortly after 1993's Wild Palms miniseries.

Come to think of it, Wild Palms is a great miniseries for FanFare.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:55 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Wow, I hadn't realized that this has been floating around since Wild Palms, or that the same guy was responsible for it. I was a little underwhelmed, but that's very interesting! And yes, I would be all over a Wild Palms fanfare viewing.
posted by naju at 12:31 AM on March 16, 2015

Sadly, Wild Palms is REALLY hard to find.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:47 PM on March 16, 2015

I saw this recently at a film festival and I have to say, as much as I love David Cronenberg, this was one of his most disappointing works. It felt lifeless, overly catty at times, and just pretty scattershot. I will give mad props to Julianne Moore's bravura performance as a the daughter of a famous actress who never grew up and never stepped out of her mother's shadow.
posted by Kitteh at 5:33 PM on March 17, 2015

wtf I didn't even know this movie existed I must have it immediately
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:44 PM on March 26, 2015

Found this via a recent Wasikowska dive, Moore sold it.

I have a natural but irrational antipathy to Pattinson but he didn't annoy, probably because he seemed like a good sport about it.

I rarely give up on a movie, but the first viewing I shut it off after the spoiled teenager's antisemitic rant. Second time though.

Too believable. Especially the spoiled teenager. Except that he thought there'd actually be consequences.

The plot is almost... shakespearean. A snapshot of an archetype, a slice of Hollywood frozen in amber.
posted by porpoise at 8:22 PM on November 2, 2019

Wow - just found this randomly and watched it last night. I guess I need to digest it a bit more. Right now, whenever I think of something that annoyed me, my brain comes right back with, "But that was the point." Me not feeling those things organically, and realizing them only in analysis, bugs me. But... that was the point? Argh.

And did Mia Wasikowska wear those same gloves in Piercing? I don't think I can handle rewatching that movie just yet. If so, that was yet another detail that I just can't tell yet whether I feel was obvious or brilliant.
posted by queensissy at 10:17 AM on November 11, 2021

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