The early 1970s. William Miller is 15-years old and an aspiring rock journalist. He gets a job writing for Rolling Stone magazine. His first assignment: tour with the band Stillwater and write about the experience. Miller will get to see what goes on behind the scenes in a famous band, including the moments when things fall apart. Moreover, for him, it will be a period of new experiences and finding himself.Written by
'Almost Famous', based on director Cameron Crowe's own experiences as a writer, is a formidable piece of work. It can be viewed as a coming-of-age story, a study of a 'collage' of characters mixed into a wonderful story or a love story. Crowe smoothly tells his story about William's love for rock music, his curiosity and excitement towards the world of rockstars and rock music, his relationship with the musicians and the Band-aids, his relationship with his mother and sister. He's put a lot of heart into the making of this dream (?) project and clearly shows a deep understanding for rock and roll. What makes 'Almost Famous' different from other rock movies is that it doesn't solely focus on drugs, sex, etc. Sure, they are there but there's a whole lot more going on, both good and bad. Crowe shows us what attracts people to the world of rock.
Every single actor does nothing short of a great job. Even those with limited screen-time, such as Zooey Deschanel and Fairuza Balk are outstanding. Of course the superb dialogues also help richen the characters but the dialogue delivery is up to the actors. Kate Hudson is stunning and fits her part like a glove. She is amazing with the subtle expressions and shares a wonderful chemistry with her co-stars. Crudup is brilliant as the guitarist who's under the impression that he's loved by everyone and that he's the best. Hoffman, Lee and Taylor are very good. McDormand is sublime. One can't help but love this character. And, last but not least, Fugit as William Miller effortlessly pulls off the character's awkwardness and initial unease to losing his virginity, falling in love and understanding it all.
As mentioned earlier, Crowe's writing is just fantastic. It would have been easy to make Elaine Miller a caricature anti-rock and roll mother or Anita Miller as the mom-hating rebellious teen but Crowe just gave enough attention to writing all the characters well enough. The dialogues make the screenplay more unique e.g. the scene where Elaine Miller screams out of the car to her son "Don't do Drugs", or the turbulent scene where the Rockband confess. The soundtrack itself is a 'must-buy'.
There's a lot more that I can write about but I'll just stop here. Those who think 'Almost Famous' is nothing different from other rock movies, then they just missed the point. It's funny, it's got drama, it's got wonderful characters, great music, it's rock and roll!
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