David Cronenberg's Maps To The Stars is a fast-paced, highly enjoyable story of a Hollywood family on the verge of destruction. Stafford is the father, a famous self-help guru, whose success has skyrocked him to A-list clientele. His wife, Cristina, manages their 13-year old son Benjie's career, who has just gotten out of rehab at the tender age of 13. When Agatha, their long forgotten daughter, arrives in Los Angeles, this successful Hollywood family begins to implode. Cronenberg's Map to The Stars is a film of great ambition, that dissects the self destructive nature of vanity and celebrity. It's a highly enjoyable subversive experience, but unfortunately the film has nothing all that new to say. Cronenberg's metaphysical approach to understanding this group of characters is fascinating but I'd argue the film never quite reaches its ambition. This is a film that is almost too playful and absurd for its own good, with an un-even tone that pushes its intended social commentary too close to absurdity. Map to the Stars has a large ensemble cast full of great performances but Julianne Moore's performance as Havana, a washed up actress, really steals the film. Moore embodies this character, capturing the vapid viewpoint of a woman who has lived a lavish, pampered lifestyle, unable to feel accomplished without the Hollywood spotlight. A Map To The Stars is a highly enjoyable commentary on the vapid nature of Hollywood, but unfortunately it doesn't have many interesting ideas that haven't already been explored.
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