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Maps to the Stars


Stars: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Evan Bird, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, Carrie Fisher, Emilia McCarthy, Niamh Wilson

Director: David Cronenberg

This is strange even by Cronenberg's standards. For the most part it runs as a skewed satire on Hollywood life, then lurches into Psycho territory and finally is just...strange.

We meet neurotic actress Havana (Moore, looking amazing at 54) desperately hoping to play her more-famous mother, who was killed in a fire, in a film biopic. Helping her to prepare for the role is Stafford (Cusack), a psychoanalyst who has a head-holding wife (Williams), a son, Benjie (Bird), who's a sub-teen megastar in the movies and fresh out of rehab, and a mysterious daughter (Wasikowska), a 'disfigured schizophrenic' who has just been released from care and now returns to Tinseltown, striking up a relationship with her taxi-driver (Pattinson) and saying she just wants to make amends.

She also, though the offices of Carrie Fisher (as herself) becomes PA to Havana, in her time of greatest stress. And Benjie and Havana soon begin seeing separate ghosts...

These are all unpleasant (or, in Wasikowska's case, deeply unsettling) people and they make it hard to get with the programme in film that ends up being not much of anything - except a predictable orgy of tragic violence.

David Quinlan

Canada/Germany 2014. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Colour by deluxe/Print by Technicolor.
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 26 Sep 2014