Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg, 2014): Canada, USA, Germany, France

Reviewed by Mina Gilbertsson. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2015.

Maps to the Stars highlights the downsides of showbusiness in Hollywood. It is based on the novel by Bruce Wagner, who also wrote the script. Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Los Angeles after years of being away. In the limo towards the City of Angels Agatha tells the driver Jermone (Robert Pattinson) that she is here to visit family, but instead she becomes the fading Hollywood star Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore)’s personal assistent.

Havana goes to the therapist Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) whose wife Christina (Olivia Williams) manage their 13 year-old son Benjie (Evan Bird) after his breakout in ‘Bad Babysitter’. They are the family that Agatha talks about but they have made it very clear that she is never welcome anywhere near them ever again.

The film touches subjects like incest, addictions, depression, Schizofrenia and death. Stafford and Christina are brother and sister, which explains the scene between Agatha and Benjie much better knowing the fact that it runs in the family. Before Agatha was kicked out of the house, she wanted to marry her brother and after their little marriage ceremony she force him to take drugs. He ended up in the hospital for quite some time.

A romance between Agatha and Jerome are heating up towards the other half of the film, but when he drives Havana home they have sex in the car right outside her house. Agatha happens to see everything which makes her furious and jealous, and when Havana arrives she killed with one of her awards.

When films’ storylines get too carried away, I lose both my focus. It felt like the film had too many small storylines. I also lost my interest because I could not relate to any aspect of the film. I love the idea of making a film about the downsides of Hollywood, but this particular one did not work for me.

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