A coming of age story with music that speaks to the audience through its heart and soul, though one that doesn’t fit as a whole with certain moments standing out that make you appreciate the film more than others.
The plot is about a young boy who gets shown the world of music records and that becomes his love. He manages to land a deal writing for Rolling Stone magazine to pen an article about a band. On their tour he falls for one of the bandaids (a more passionate sophisticated style of groupie) whilst still attempting to get interviews. Soon his friendship to Stillwater as a music collective becomes strained and he sees the true side to music on his journalism journey.
I did like the film, I just can’t say that I overly enjoyed it as an entirety. I sort of get how it’s critiqued so well and was up for awards but then don’t at the same time. It wasn’t spectacular, there were only a few scenes for me that jumped out and made me really love the acting, writing or style. Then it switches back to backstage fodder or other conversations that didn’t engage me that much. I would have liked to see more of the dark side to this story which would have highlighted the black cloud hanging over rock bands in the 1970’s. The only real allusion to drugs was with Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) nearer the end of the movie. It looks suitably grungy at times with the tour bus lifestyle and all but it seemed to take a while for William Miller’s (Patrick Fugit) plight to get interesting and that was when Rolling Stone were on his back trying to get his piece on Stillwater.
The writing of the scene where William is on the phone to Lester (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is one of the best moments in the film with the dialogue coming alive as Hoffman discusses the sad side of their approach to crossroads in life and the way uncool people are treated. It’s a poignant and special conversation and is made so much more thanks to Hoffman’s gifted and fantastic performance in his small role. The scene on the plane is another top point with the turbulence manifesting into band anger and revealed secrets which works in causing huge friction and putting a barrier in Miller’s story as he comes to see the band as a fighting unit and not the close idols he thought they were. The nice touches of Penny Lane discussing Morocco and her story end are sweet and the visit to Miller’s house near the end of the film is also a touching moment.
It’s the music throughout the movie that makes scenes come alive with rock sounds pulsing and making it all seem more energetic than it is. When the music dies down it feels a little flat and the story kind of chugs along waiting for the next funny or dramatic scene, such as the scene with Russell on LSD. There’s quirky moments like that which keep you interested but then it becomes merely likeable again and not overly loveable or astounding. A funky story at times with rock tones to shoot adrenaline or interest into the movie now and then.
A mildly interesting look at the rock and roll scene with a sweet coming of age story that falters from time to time but not overly boring, just not as insanely great as what I’ve seen the critics say about it.