David Cronenberg’s latest film casts a watchful eye over Hollywood. Maps to the Stars showcases a disturbing number of characters all caught up in their own success and the success of others close to them.
Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) is an aging movie star. She attends regular therapy with high profile therapist Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) to remedy her dark childhood and abusive film star mother. In a strange twist she seems desperate to be cast in the character formerly played by her mother in the remake of a successful 1950s film.
When Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) turns up at her door through a dubious link to Carrie Fisher, Havana immediately employs her as her personal assistant. Agatha wears long black gloves to cover burns which are more obvious on her face. As Havana’s mother burned to death in a fire she cannot ignore the serendipity of the moment.
Soon after her arrival Agatha begins a relationship with Jerome Fontana (Robert Pattinson), a limo driver keen to break into the acting world. The fated relationship soon turns sour and marks the end of her employment.
As the movie presses on, more is revealed about the strange life of Stafford Weiss. He is a wealthy man who will do anything to protect himself and his upcoming book tour. His house and car are sterile upmarket visions of his own success. His 13-year-old son Benjie (Evan Bird) has become a star in the popular Bad Babysitter franchise. Having just returned from rehab which has done nothing to curb his behaviour, Benjie enjoys dishing out slander to his parents, younger co-stars and management. Both his parents and staff seem at a loss to deal with his daily demands.
The character’s lives start to collide as professional and personal boundaries are broken down. The result is a dark, seething film that makes for uncomfortable watching.
Maps to the Stars is released today in Australian cinemas.
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