Maps to the Stars Movie Review

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Maps to the Stars posterIf the title alone of Maps to the Stars didn’t intrigue us here at At Home In Hollywood, where we cover all things celebrity home oriented, the glittering cast certainly did. After all, it features the recently Oscar anointed Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska, to name just a few. When the film began with a montage of Beverly Hills’ most prominent and notorious street signs, I thought I was in for a real treat…until this David Cronenberg directed effort devolved into a shamelessly dark and disturbing exploration of the fictional stars’ interiors that had nothing to do with maps to the stars homes at all.

The problem with Maps to the Stars is that everyone is so dreadfully despicable and debauched that it’s impossible to find anyone to cheer for. Julianne Moore’s performance is impeccable, but she plays Havana Segrand, an outrageously insecure actress who will sink to unspeakable lows to feed her ego, and she’s not even remotely likable. John Cusack, normally an affable everyman, is a pop therapist whose treatments involve humping his patients (of course Havana is one of them), and he’s so focused on his upcoming book launch that he can’t see the utter and terrible collapse of his family right under his nose. His daughter (Mia Wasikowska) is a fratricidal arsonist, and his son (Evan Bird) is a homicidal, drug addicted, 13-year-old child star. Robert Pattinson is a clueless chauffeur– oh yes, we really buy that face and presence as a Hollywood nobody going nowhere.

So, in alphabetical order, Maps to the Stars serves up addiction, adultery, arson, betrayal, dysfunction, egotism, incest, infidelity, murder, perversion, self immolation and suicide. Yet I was willing to go with it…until they killed the dog. That’s when I emotionally checked out. I can’t help but wonder who they make a film like this for, and how does it ever get financing? It’s not darkly amusing, it’s darkly abusing. Nor is it an insightful look at the corrupt underbelly of Hollywood, because nowhere, not even in Tinsel Town, will you find so many outrageously deranged people in one family.

Maps to the Stars takes you on a road best not taken. Despite a beautiful cast, it’s almost two hours of ugliness.

Rated R

1 Hour 52 Minutes

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.


  1. Avatar Kathy Austin on February 25, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Lisa, love everything about what you write. It’s my go to once a day to keep me informed and up to date on movies. We are movie freaks and you are right on. Keep up the good work.

  2. Avatar Craige story on February 26, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Oh my! I wanted to like this movie!!! Now I may wait for it to go Direct.
    Thanks again Lisa, for guiding us in how and where we seek entertainment.
    Kill the dog? Yep, I am so so tired of that device. It seems every FRICKING time there is a dog in a movie, I sit on the edge of my seat …waiting for the demise of cute Fluffy!!!
    Thanks again for the entertaining review!!!!

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