TAYLOR BRANDON BURNS, A CONFLICTED 12 YEAR OLD TV STAR FRON THE U.S., RUNS AWAY FROM THE SET & HIS PROBLEMS WHILE SHOOTING A BIG-BUDGET FILM IN CANADA. HIS RELUCTANT LIMO DRIVER, RICK SCHILLER, A DOWN-ON-HIS-LUCK UNDIE FILMMAKER IS ENLISTED TO FIND TAYLOR BEFORE THE CHILDSTAR DESTROYS HIMSELF.
Billed as an eccentric, funny film, this award-winning Canadian import from director/actor Don McKellar (eXistanZ, The Red Violin) is more drama than comedy; a multi-layered, provocative satire of the movie industry and its self-serving exploitation of child celebrities. Childstar is the story of Taylor Brandon Burns (Mark Rendall), a spoiled 12-year-old American megastar and his self-absorbed mother, Suzanne (Jennifer Jason Leigh), together in Canada while Taylor films a big budget movie. Shockingly insolent on the exterior, Taylor struggles with conflicting emotions of anger and apathy and, at the point of despair, runs away with a prostitute. Enter Rick Schiller (Don McKellar), a hapless indie filmmaker picking up a paycheck as Taylor's limo-driver who is now enlisted to find the boy before he destroys himself. With camera in hand, Rick can't help but see Taylor's life as a movie while he attempts to engage Taylor as a friend. Perhaps intentionally, this movie-about-a-movie-about-a-movie eschews a single raison d'être in favor of many. At times wry, it is also a sobering statement on America's celebrity culture. Most notable is the film's cinematography--artsy, innovative, and, at times, disturbing. With standout performances by McKellar and Leigh, viewers can't miss the message on child stars explicit in the script: "When they hit puberty, we chew them up and spit them out; they spend the rest of their lives entertaining us in the tabloids." Rated R for extreme language and sexual content. --Lynn Gibson
- The "Making Of" Childstar Documentary
- Commentary with writer/director/actor Don McKellar
- Theatrical Trailer
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Top customer reviews
Childstar is a darkly comedic look at the world on the other side of the big screen-giving viewers a peek at the movie-making world and revealing child actors for what they really are. It also shows another side-the broken families, the money-hungry parents, the difficulty of finding real friends, and the impossibility of having a normal childhood or living a normal life. It even shows the child actor's future-though Taylor's costar, Chip (Brendan Fehr), a former child star who battles a fading career and a problem with addiction while trying to gain recognition as an adult.
The theme may not be totally original, but it's well-executed-for the majority of the film. Writer/director Don McKellar creates a captivating story that's insightful as well as amusing. Unfortunately, however, things fall apart toward the end of the film, when Taylor sneaks out and follows Rick's advice to "live a little." He meets a girl, decides he's fallen in love, and disappears from the set-and things go downhill from there. The rather confusing turn of events leads to an ending that's unnecessarily preachy.
As a whole, Childstar is an excellent indie. McKellar plays his role with an understated dry wit that enhances the story. And Rendall is wonderful in his role as the obnoxious yet conflicted child star. Despite its disappointing conclusion, Childstar is a clever and witty film-a must-see for movie-lovers and cynics (and especially for cynical movie-lovers).
Her little boy, Taylor Brandon Burns, is a huge US sitcom star who acts up on a fictional show called FAMILY DIFFERENCES as the son of omnipresent but goodhumored Alan Thicke. Toronto lures him with the promise of big screen glory as "The First Son" a ludicrous action movie aimed at tweens in which he gets to save the entire Western World and drive a fighter plane to rescue Dad, the POTUS, from a cabal of evildoers who have him tied up and riding a chair on Air Force One. If "The First Son" is more entertaining than the tired satire of CHILDSTAR, who says you have to choose? You get both movies and you get more of them than you want, anyhow.
I was like, WTF Don McKellar, but now I know he's good for me. Sign me up for whatever club he stands for.
Like that old Dickie Roberts movie, it tries to say something about the plight of former and soon to be former child stars, but does not do a good job of it.
Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple, where are you when we need you?
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