Starry Eyes (2014)


Starry Eyes is a clever film written and directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer.  The story has many interesting “what-the-hell” moments before the story fully emerges in its final act.

On the surface, this movie was about a woman named Sarah struggling to become famous, like the actresses that she pins pictures of to her wall.  Opportunities finally presented themselves, but they come with hard choices to be made first.  We eventually witness how these choices transform her from a character you empathize with in the beginning, to something very different in the end.

Alexandra Essoe played Sarah’s transformation wonderfully.  Her performance in the scene involving her first audition was especially stunning.  In it, we see Sarah go from being completely nervous to being the character she’s trying out for.  The casting director (Maria Olsen) and her assistant (Marc Senter) are not impressed by her performance though, and dismiss her.  A fortunate event in the bathroom gives her a second chance, however, and Sarah is now placed on the path to her new destiny.

[Spoilers ahead]

This film exposes a few possible wrongs within the film industry itself.  During the first audition, for example, we see actresses completely destroyed by the casting process, reduced to tears and to even pulling out their own hair.   We further witness that even a perfect performance at the audition isn’t enough to win a part (just because the film makers are looking for something else in particular).

During Sarah’s second audition, she completely exposes herself, both literally and metaphorically, to the casting director and her assistant, and she still doesn’t get the part.  When Sarah is asked to perform sexual favors on The Producer (Louis Dezseran), you would think that would be enough.  But that too isn’t enough to win Sarah the part.

After she does all this, she is finally told that she will get her wish, if she removes everything in her past, all that she is, and become what the film company wants.  Basically, only by “selling out” will Sarah get the part.  This process actually transforms her too.  Her old body slowly decays and falls apart like a character in a David Cronenberg film.  Left with the choice of certain death or to complete her new destiny, she chooses to sell out and murder her friends (who happened to be working on an independent film of their own).

Those of you waiting for gore are finally rewarded as we see several gruesome scenes with blood flying.  One spectacular death in particular was very memorable.  It involves extreme blunt force trauma to the face.

[End of Spoilers]

Somehow I think the film makers were commenting on how Hollywood was trying to kill off the independent film industry there.  In all, the story was intriguing and the acting was fantastic.  The production was decent, with no hiccups.  I also enjoyed Jonathan Snipes’ music, which used bells to create a music box effect.

Ultimately, I give Starry Eyes 3.4 bowties out of 5.



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