Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Written by: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand and Kate Hudson
For some, rock music isn’t just a passion – it’s a lifestyle, a way of thinking. When William (Patrick Fugit) places The Who’s ‘Tommy’ album onto his record player at the age of eleven, the music strikes something deep within him that stays through his teen years as a wannabe rock journalist, in adoration of rock critic, Lester Bangs. What follows is an adventure with a band called Stillwater, their band-aids (more genuine than simply being groupies) and Rolling Stone magazine editors who assign him to a job covering the band’s ‘Almost Famous’ tour. But as a fifteen year old with a slightly over-bearing mother (McDormand), William finds it hard to grow up, get interviews and balance his own personal feelings for a band-aid, Penny Lane (Hudson) with the friendship he has formed with the band.
Like a tour, stopping at specific destinations, Almost Famous is a well-plotted story. The development of William as a character is clearly mapped out, and this could be said of the other characters in the film such as Penny Lane, and one of the more prominent band members, Russell (Crudup). With each stop, relationships grow, conflicts arise and the stakes for William get higher as his story needs to be finished, and his mother grows increasingly worried. Even the final trip to the end of the film is tied in nicely with gentle surprises and a heartwarming realization.
But as well-plotted as the film is, Almost Famous doesn’t feel calculated or predictable. With neat lines and feel-good moments running through the film with an amazing soundtrack, Almost Famous progresses its story with ease and a natural knack for subtle and enjoyable comedy. Balanced with a few profound lessons on growing up, finding self-confidence and finding love, Almost Famous is almost like watching an uplifting performance – its well executed, exciting, worth dancing to and leaves you feeling high afterwards.