Thursday, 13 March 2014

Starman (1984) - ★★★★★

Director: John Carpenter
Writers: Bruce A. Evans, Raynold Gideon
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Jaeckel

Starman is my favourite sci-fi film of all time, and one of my favourite romances. It saddens me to see that hardly anyone knows of this film, when there's so much beauty to be found within this tale. In my opinion, Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges give their career best performances in Starman. Their chemistry was as powerful as any I've ever seen captured on film, and the pure emotion they expressed was more believable than almost any other. It features some really nice special effects, fantastic cinematography, and some of the most beautiful dialogue I've ever heard in my entire life. On top of all this, it is scored by the brilliant Jack Nitzche, who created one of the most soul-touching compositions I've ever heard in a movie. I love this film as much, probably more, than any other I've ever seen.



After NASA (or something to do with Space) send a record containing greetings in many languages up into space, a being from another world comes down to learn more about Earth. He is faced with hostility from the US military, which results in him crash landing near the home of Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen). He takes the form of her deceased husband (Jeff Bridges), and kidnaps her so that she can guide him to the place where he will be taken back to his home planet. They must get there in no less than three days, or else he will be stuck on Earth and will inevitably die. It's a whirlwind journey of discovery and romance.


What I love about this romance is that it's so different from anything I've ever seen in a film. Two beings from other worlds come together, and learn so much from each other. For the sake of this review, I will refer to Jeff Bridges' character as 'Starman.' The vulnerability of his situation, with him having hardly any idea about the behaviours and customs of human beings, made Jenny's presence so very important. She teaches him of many human feelings (both physical and emotional), such as satisfying hunger, or being in love with another person. Their arduous journey, and their beautiful relationship, are two of the most heart-warming things I've ever seen in a film.

"Love is, um, it's when you care for someone... more than you do yourself."
I just adored Karen Allen's performance. She really got to me, portraying a woman who is deeply crushed by the loss of her husband Sam. When Starman comes along and kidnaps her, of course she fought back and didn't want to go. As their journey moved forward, and she began to see just how vulnerable and kind he was, it was like she was given a new purpose in life. Allen played Jenny with such tenderness and subtlety, that I would have definitely awarded her the Oscar for Best Actress. One of my favourite scenes in movie history is when she explains what "love" is. I always tear up in this scene, because not only is she spot on about what love truly is, but you can tell that she deeply misses her husband. It would have to be one of the greatest displays of emotion I've ever seen.

I personally believe that Jeff Bridges gave his greatest performance in Starman. I can't think of any other actor who could have pulled this role off better than him. Not only was he fully convincing as a being from another world, but he managed to show that he was evolving in his understanding of Earth, and starting to care and love for Jenny. He was also the backbone of the entertainment within the film. The way he pulled of the quirky antics had me in stitches, like when he had his first taste of cherry pie. This is yet another one of my all time favourite performances.

"You are a strange species. Not like any other. And you'd be surprised how many there are. Intelligent but savage. Shall I tell you what I find most beautiful about you? You are at your best when things are worst."

The sheer amount of beauty in this film is at times overwhelming. One of my favourite scenes is when Starman comes across a dead deer that is tied to the hood of a redneck's truck. You could tell he felt the purest sympathy towards the poor creature. What he did next really touched me, and served as a wake-up call to just how precious life is. It was yet another moment in this film that I would rank as one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever come across.


When all is said and done, the reason I treasure this film so dearly to my heart is because it speaks to me. I really adore the relationship between Starman and Jenny. The dialogue is just absolutely beautiful, and shows the value of love better than any other film I have ever seen. The chemistry between Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges is the best I've seen since Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca. The soul touching score by Jack Nitzche has the power to make me tear up on its own. But most importantly, I enjoyed Starman from start to finish. To me, there is no greater sci-fi/romance film, for this is the complete package.


Please listen to the gorgeous music that is the score of Starman. You won't be disappointed.

2 comments:

  1. I've never even seen this film before!

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  2. I love this movie. Jeff Bridges does such a good job balancing out the different qualities of his character, there is the wisdom mixed with his vulnerability and I enjoyed how they found a balance between using that for both comedic and dramatic moments.

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