Projections - Movie Reviews

Stardom Stardom

A Canadian reworking of Woody Allen's Celebrity is done with some panache by Denys Arcand in the persuasive E! or Entertainment Tonight style satirizing the media's handling of a beautiful girl in the uneven, but ever watchable Stardom.

Plato once said, "Beauty is a beautiful girl," and Andy Warhol's line of being famous for fifteen minutes easily applies to the beauteous Jessica Pare whose Tina Moonshell is followed on camera from her days as an arresting hockey player from Cornwall, Ontario.  The local skater hits it big as a model.  Pare's face reminds one of Liv Tyler and her body that of Hayworth or Mansfield.

Arcand documents the rise of Tina's celebrity in this obviously invasive expose that has nothing revealing to say about video jocks, TV talk show hosts, and the fashion industry which gets what it needs from its lookers.

Using a gossipy talk show which mocks her in front of a French panel and guest, her Parisian modeling niche is uneventful but impressive for the folks in Ontario.  She hooks up with Philippe Gascon (Charles Berling), a dark leather clothed lenser seeking fame, with traits oddly similar to Dan Aykroyd's restaurant enterprising type Barry Levine, who moves in with Tina while undergoing a mid life crisis.

Later, Tina finds comfort for an older Canadian in Frank Langella's UN ambassador who gets giddy on the floor as her welcoming of paparazzi has turned his life around.  And with Robert Lepage's fashion photographer, Bruce Taylor, Lepage is like a confidante, even a conscience for the young woman who is soaked in the excess of media madness.

Some of the shoots and interviews are well staged and insightful, especially a cool blue perfume ad and an impromptu reunion with her father, an iron curtain fugitive.

The lovely girl interrupted throughout, isn't really giving much of a chance to act and Pare, like Vanessa Paradis (Girl on the Bridge) should get more calls after Stardom.  Thomas Bibson is quietly effective as her underhanded New York agent.  Arcand's sensationalism only lets Pare shine with an inner strength which can't be projected like her stunning physical qualities, as he looks back at an exploitative culture with a surreptitious eye.


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