Sundance Film Festival Review: Grown Up Movie Star

By Whitney Borup

00 grownupmoviestar atlantic2009 lThe first thing we hear in the film “Grown Up Movie Star” is that Ruby is selfish. These words are spoken by her mother who is in the midst of running away to Hollywood, leaving her family behind because she doesn’t want to waste her life on motherhood. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. But, as Ruby, her little sister, Rose, and her dad try to make it through the next few months together, she does make some wildly selfish decisions. After all, she’s a teenager. Isn’t that was growing up is all about?

Ruby is obsessed with Hollywood and fame. She loves the United States and anyone from there. So it’s only natural that she develops a crush on Will, a boy from Colorado. She just doesn’t quite know what to do with that crush, and her father seems to be deathly afraid of anything having to do with sex. Maybe that’s because he’s dealing with his own sexual identity, which becomes obvious when Ruby catches him getting a blow j. from her male gym teacher.

“Grown Up Movie Star” is full of characters making bad decisions. Ruby is a lost adolescent without a confident parental figure to guide her. Her dad feels guilty and confused about being a father. And Rose is just struggling to stay afloat. Each conflicted character is portrayed with love and understanding and even as they falter, viewers will latch on to everyone in the film.

grown up movie star still1Tatiana Maslany is adorable. She captures the false confidence of her age perfectly. Her interactions with her family are perfectly scripted. It’s rare in the independent film world to find a young character depicted with realism. They are often either too shy or awkward to express themselves, or too quirky to function in normal society. Ruby is neither. She goes about her life in ways that everyone can relate to. You might have been like Ruby in Jr. high school, or else you’ll certainly remember girls that were.

“Grown Up Movie Star” was a complete delight. It’s small and contained, but seems professionally made. A Newfoundland winter complements the characters’ hard edges and brings out the seemingly hopelessness of their situations. It’s hard to believe that this is Adriana Maggs first film. I hope she has a long, long career ahead of her.

Grown Up Movie Star

Directed and Written: Adriana Maggs
Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Shawn Doyle, and Jonny Harris
Canada, 95 min.

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