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    review by Tom Hagen                   Full Review List

Almost Famous

It's refreshing to see a film written and directed by someone so obviously enamoured with their subject matter. Almost Famous is a story straight from the heart of director Cameron Crowe, a semi-autobiographical project he had wanted to do for some years.

The excellent Patrick Fugit, in his first starring role, plays William Miller an aspiring rock journalist who gets assigned by Rolling Stone to go on the road with upcoming band Stillwater. Warned against the hedon ways of rock stars by his over-protective mother he takes off on a whirlwind tour of America and falls in love not only with the world of rock and roll but also with the band's lead groupie (or 'band-aid') Penny Lane.

Blasted along on the back of a soundtrack that any real music fan will absolutely love the film evokes the spirit of the 70's brilliantly and exudes an honesty that is rarely found in Hollywood these days. This is due in no small part to Crowe's script and direction but also to the excellent cast who play each and every role with subtlety and style. Billy Crudup and Kate Hudson play out a doomed romance between musician and fan, each utterly believable, while Frances McDormand as William's mother and the always watchable Philip Seymour Hoffman as legendary rock journalist Lester Bangs also shine in supporting roles.

This feel-good coming-of-age story manages to be both funny and touching without ever descending into sentimental pap or talking down to its audience which in this day and age is a rare thing.

Almost Famous is a truly great film which will warm the hearts of all but the most cynical. Highly recommended.

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