Movie Review: “Maps to the Stars” – Twisted Brilliance

Written by Samah Ali November 05, 2014

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Looking from the outside of the Los Angeles population, you would expect to meet two kinds of people: the ones who’ve made it and the struggling artists. David Cronenberg’s latest flick dives into this world and captures the dark, twisted paradise with three colliding stories that all try to escape their ghosts. Haunting and confusing, “Maps to the Stars” manages to lure you into this authentic side of Hollywood and sheds all ideas of the glitz and glam it portrays to be.

The Weiss family keeps their dark past locked in Florida where their deranged daughter, Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), resides in a mental ward. Rebuilding after their thirteen-year-old son Benjie (Evan Bird) recovers from his four-year substance abuse, Agatha returns to Los Angeles for recovery and seeks their acceptance. Upon her return, she meets a struggling actor and writer Jerome (Robert Pattinson) who occupies her time when she is not working for the delusional Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore), who happens to be haunted by the overshadowing memory of her dead mother Clarice (Sarah Gadon); so many characters with just enough time.

 “People don’t just enter our lives randomly, we call them.”

The writing and directing behind “Maps to the Stars” should be commended. Each scene unfolded elegantly, revealing more details about the characters and the ghosts they keep hidden. As the film progressed, you begin to realize the instability behind each character as their storylines continue to align. The writer, Bruce Wagner, gracefully worked in Paul Eluard’s poem Liberté in various scenes to show the longing between the yearning relationships between the Weiss siblings and Havana and her mother. Building off small details the characters mentioned in passing, each shot came full circle and composed a weird, lustful picture.

Maps to the Stars

Everyone needs to praise the script for giving this talented group of actors these multidimensional roles. Easily some of the best chops on the block, each actor added a new element to their character by embodying and pushing their limits to add to the twisted underworld of Hollywood. Julianne Moore steals the show by relatively replicating a Lindsay Lohan persona while simultaneously appearing well composed to the media. Desperate for a role her mother played prior to her death, she goes to all extents to get the role and play the woman who controls her thoughts. Fresh face Evan Bird gives a captivating performance of a sheltered yet exposed child star that uses his fame for illicit substances to control his visions of dead children. Acting heavy weights John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams, and Mia Wasikowska flex their talents and ultimately make alluring characters that can carry the movie by itself.

“I went through that whole drug thing myself, not at your age mind you.”

Cronenberg’s weird flick somehow captivates you for two hours as it takes you on a dark journey inside Hollywood. Both shocked by the secrets and the ruthless nature of the characters, you’re too overwhelmed with the brilliant writing, acting, and directing to begin to comprehend what Hollywood figures live their lives similarly to this story. Demented and amazing, “Maps to the Stars” hits all the bars for a multidimensional storyline movie.

Rating: 9/10

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About Samah Ali

Samah Ali

With a deep admiration for film, television, and music, Samah spends most of her free time expressing and sharing her love for the arts. Studying Creative Writing at Western University, she enjoys writing about film & music and shapes her passions with the latest movie or album available.

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