“MAP TO THE STARS” My rating: C
111 minutes | MPAA rating: R
There have been plenty of great movies about Hollywood.
“The Bad and the Beautiful.”
David Cronenberg’s “Map to the Stars” is not one of them.
It’s got a terrific cast (including recent Oscar winner Julianne Moore) and offers many observations about the pathetically fragile egos of those caught up in the celebrity/career cycle, and of the moral vacuum in which the entertainment industry operates.
What it hasn’t got is one character — just one — who isn’t either homicidal, mental, or otherwise set apart from the rest of us average folk. Now this may be a perfectly accurate reflection of life in LaLa Land, but it makes for an uninvolving movie experience.
The screenplay by Bruce Wagner (“Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills”) follows the template of a classic Robert Altman film. Take an evocative setting (Hollywood, Nashville, a wedding, a health food convention) and toss into it a dozen or so characters whose trajectories intersect at various points.
It begins with the arrival in L.A. of Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), a fresh face from Middle America seeking her future and fortune in the city of angels. Did I say she had a fresh face? Not pecisely. Agatha has a huge scar on her left cheek and wears old-fashioned over-the-elbow lady’s gloves to hide what she says are burn marks.
She hires a limousine driver (Robert Pattinson, late of the “Twilight” franchise) to give her a tour of the sights and of celebrity residences. He’s actually an actor, he says, and is contemplating Scientology. “I was thinking about converting. Be a good career move.”