Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe (Screenplay)
Starring: Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Patrick Fugit, Zooey Deschanel, Michael Angarano, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Plot: A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies them on their concert tour.
Tagline – Experience it. Enjoy it. Just don’t fall for it.
Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Almost Famous starts as we meet William Miller who grow up in a different environment where his mother Elaine (McDormand) who raised him to believe he was older than he is, but did encourage her children to follow their dreams. William (Fugit) now 15 has been writing articles on music for his high school paper, trying to get advice from famous music critic Lester Bangs (Hoffman), who gives him his first assignment, to interview Black Sabbath.
William’s first main show sees him meet the band Still Water who nickname him the enemy as they hate music critics, but soon learn he is a fan, welcoming him into their inner circle along with band aid Penny Lane (Hudson) who is trying to teach him about the new world she has entered, as he looks to learn about the lead singer Russell Hammond (Crudup).
Thoughts on Almost Famous
Characters & Performances – William Miller is a teenager who grow up in a very strange environment, where his mother convinced him he was older than he truly was and his sister guided him to rock music, driving his passion to write about it, he gets a chance to write meeting a band Still Water, who invite him on tour with him to learn what music truly is about, watching and learning about the rock-n-roll life. He is the innocent eyes entering this world, not wanting to fall into the drugs and drinks side, just wanting to experience the music. Patrick Fugit is brilliant in the leading role, showing the pure innocent character in world that seen to be filled with sin and temptation. Russell Hammond is the lead singer of Still Water, he isn’t interested in journalists or critics, but becomes impressed with how William handles himself, he does seem to keep the truth close to his chest, always managing to keep himself a mystery compared to the rest of the band. Billy Crudup does a wonderful job to fill his character with the mystery and charisma needed through the film. Penny Lane is the self-proclaimed band aid, above the groupie, she helps William learn about the world as she gets close to Russell, turning to William for the more personal moments of her life. Kate Hudson is the star of the show, bringing the romantic side to the rock-n-roll, showing how far someone will go to be important, but not famous. Elaine Miller is the mother of William who has controlled his life even if she is willing to let him experience the tour, she is always concerned about him on his journey. Frances McDormand gives a performance which spends more time alone on the phone, but gives us such a powerful performance in those moments. We do have an incredible cast that bring each character to life with ease through the film.
Story – The story here follows a teenager who has been shielded in life that gets an opportunity to interview and tour with a rock band, where he will learn about the world behind the scenes, fall in love and see that not everything is what you would imagine from seeing music. This is a story that is known for being semi-autobiographic for Cameron Crowe, it shows the music industry from the eyes of an innocent person stepping into it, wanting more from their life to follow their passion of writing about music, learning the ins and outs from a personal stand point that will help him learn to become a man. This is an important story that shows us that not everything is what you would believe it to be when it comes to chasing your dreams.
Themes – Almost Famous takes our character William on a journey he never imagined, a music tour across America where he does learn life lesson which is semi-biographical from the director Cameron Crowe. Each city gets the spotlight and we learn how the behind the scenes of music truly operates with the locations.