Starring: Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska
Director: David Cronenberg
Running Time: 112 mins
Maps To The Stars is an American film about the life of a dysfunctional Hollywood family, and their association with the showbiz world as well as their troubles as they are haunted by ghosts that remind them of their selfishness.
This could well be the nastiest film of all time. It’s not the most gory, not the most brutal, it’s just nasty. The plot intentionally satirises the Hollywood world in a hugely negative and heavy way, however watching this incredibly mean-spirited film is one of the most painfully unpleasant experiences you’ll ever have.
I’ll start, however, with the one positive about this film: the performances. Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska gave very intriguing performances, and they did succeed in creating these absolutely loathsome characters, and whilst I have to say that I really hated every moment that I saw them, or anyone else, on screen, they were impressive.
Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you about how horrid this film is. I accept the fact that it’s totally intentional to create this mean-spirited atmosphere to it all, but I’ve got to say that it just goes too far. The film tries to satirise Hollywood and show business, which it succeeds in to some degree, however I felt that the sense of nastiness was just too much for it to even be interesting, because I just found myself depressed at it.
Also, this film is incredibly nasty because it’s so unnecessarily violent. There is some gore in it, which I often think went a little too far, however there’s so much horribly painful family violence that you see on screen here; a terribly graphic showing of the world of these dysfunctional families, which I found to be totally over the top.
Another issue with this film apart from being so horrible is that it’s got a really boring story. Even before the plot descends into the madness that I’ve just described, I wasn’t ever really interested in the whole premise of it all, because it takes so long to get going, and the dialogue is also really quite dull. In addition to that, this film is even more unimpressive because it’s a jumbled-up mess of genres. At one point, it’s a satire, then it’s a family drama, then it’s a weird supernatural psychological horror, and it all just seemed so stupid that I lost interest.
And finally, one of the worst sins a film that doesn’t grab my attention can commit: it’s really, really pretentious. This film really thinks it’s some sort of important comment and/or revelation of the horrors of the Hollywood world, and it tries to show off so much to the extent that it often forgets to be just a genuinely interesting story, leaving it just as a dull, pretentious commentary that never interested me one bit.
Overall, this gets a 3.5, because it was so painfully nasty and mean-spirited, plus the story was boring, it had a messed-up atmosphere, and it was pretentious as hell.