[Bea’s Reviews] Starman [1984]

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Dir.: John Carpenter

Starring: Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges

Made first and foremost as an apology for pissing so many soft-shelled souls off with The Thing (which was a tragic, self-defeating event in of itself), John Carpenter shifted his focus and his aspirations to make a film off the beaten path by making a movie not a lot of people expected to see out of him; a romance.

Intimate in scope, story and characters, Starman‘s decidedly low-key elements actually work in the films’ favor by casting two unconventional yet nonetheless interesting actors to play the romantic leads, Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges. While not what you may typically associate with romantic movie material, both performers are hugely engaging and convince you of the relationship between their characters, one that is made more of humanity, hope, discovery and surprisingly endearing humor rather than grandiose, sickening and quite frankly insulting idealizations of love, or at least Hollywood’s manufacturing of it.

Although this is hardly Carpenter at his highest powers as a director, he nonetheless appreciates the nature of the tale he is translating on the screen and doesn’t pander to any particular demographic, which is as refreshing as spring rain in a genre that is filled with pervasive versions of what an intimate and loving relationship is like. It is in recognising this that the film works better as a love story than one could expect. Certainly not to everybodys’ tastes, but Carpenter didn’t want to treat the audience like fools, he saw them as people and this attitude resonates throughout the entire movie.

A decent, optimistic and kindhearted exercise in humility from a director so heavily associated with the opposite… or at least cynical alternatives.

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