“By the power of the word
I regain my life
I was born to know you
And to name you
This is an excerpt from the poem Liberty by Paul Eluard that was repeated throughout Maps to the Stars and it’s really stuck in my head for very positive reasons. Maps to the Stars is incredible, moving and brings attention to the celebrity culture that Hollywood has produced over the years. It’s one of those films that keeps you feeling sane as the film steeps further in to the insane, a film you laugh with despite it dealing with intense issues. I will never forget this film.
The script was written by Bruce Wagner who later wrote Dead Stars which was based on the screenplay. It deals with the fame-obsessed, manipulating and image shaming side of Hollywood which is really interesting to watch. The main focus of this film is a money, fame and work obsessed family who have shut out their daughter due to her mental health issues whilst dealing with their own mental health issues. The father, played by John Cusack, has built a career on manipulating the rich and famous and his son, played by Evan Bird, is a very famous, fresh faced and arrogant actor who turns out to be a lot more like his shut out sister than his parents realised. Julianne Moore plays Havana, a washed up aging actress who hires the daughter to be her “Chore-Whore” A.K.A. personal assistant. I don’t want to say much more because the film is so clever and can open up a discussion about the influence media has on both celebrities and the public and the many ways it can affect different people, also mental health which is so important and I want many people to watch it.
Every single performance in this film was sensational. Mia Wasikowska gives her best performance to date, Robert Pattinson gives an understated but memorable performance as a limo driver, John Cusack plays a manipulative therapist who takes advantage of the fact that rich and famous people will pay money for his services and goes further with in sessions, Cusack is an incredibly versatile actor (one of my favourites) and it was so great to see him in such a grotesque role – somewhat comparable to his character in Adult World – he was amazing as always. I haven’t seen anything else that Evan Bird has been in, but this was definitely a great introduction to him and his abilities because he blew me away, amongst all the recognisable stars he really stood out.
Peter Suschitzky and David Cronenberg worked fantastically well to create this masterpiece. Suschitzky who is an incredibly talented cinematographer did a great job of using the shots to make the more surreal or difficult scenes watchable. I normally can’t watch when people get hit in films, but there is a point in the film where Mia Wasikowska’s character hits Julianne Moore’s character on the head with a blunt object and I was strangely entranced (just as the character was) and that impressed me from a film makers perspective. Cronenberg deserves so much credit because he is clearly a very talented director, all of his actors did an amazing job, the film was choreographed perfectly and will stay with me for a very long time.