Almost Famous (2000)

2008 #41
Cameron Crowe | 118 mins | DVD | 15 / R

Almost FamousSometimes I find I have quite a lot to say about a film when it comes to writing my review for this blog — recently, witness Cloverfield, Transformers, or Indiana Jones 4 (of course, using Indy 4’s full title more than once guarantees a long review). Other times it’s a struggle to come up with anything at all — try the relatively brief comments on The Fountain, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or Field of Dreams. Almost Famous falls into the latter camp. Not because it’s no good, or because it’s middle-of-the-road, but because there’s nothing I’m dying to praise or slate about it.

Everything about it is solidly done. Patrick Fugit is an engaging and relatable lead, ably supported in the acting stakes by a good ensemble, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman (unsurprisingly) and fellow top-billers Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand and Kate Hudson. And there’s Zooey Deschanel, who doesn’t have many scenes, but, y’know, still…

Crowe’s autobiographical screenplay is a good one, with plenty of amusing and dramatic moments to keep it ticking over — the most memorable, on a crashing plane, manages both with aplomb. Likewise, his direction is rarely flashy but always works. The music, costumes, design and cinematography evoke the period well (to me, at least, who didn’t live anywhere near the ’70s). There’s probably some life lessons in here — it’s a coming-of-age film after all (as well as a rock & roll road movie, of course) — but they’re not over-laboured.

In short, I really liked Almost Famous. It’s the sort of film that might creep in at the lower end of a (relatively long) list of favourites, not because there’s anything exemplary about it, but because the cumulative effect makes for an enjoyable experience.

4 out of 5

Almost Famous is on Movie Mix (aka more>movies) tonight, Sunday 31st May 2015, at 1:15am.

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