Cameron Crowe has finally filmed his passion. The director of "Singles" and "Jerry Maguire" has tapped into his own past when (as a geeky, stuttering fifteen-year-old) he began writing for "Creem" and "Rolling Stone" in an era when rock 'n' roll was laden with meaning and boy-bands wouldn't have been allowed to breathe. Crowe has fashioned his experience into a pop-culture take on growing up through his story about a rock-obsessed teen, William Miller (Patrick Fugit), who is given a flying start to his career as a rock writer when asked to go on tour with Stillwater (longhairs whose looks and music are a hybrid of The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd). As the band twigs that William's love of all things rock, and his worship of the band, mean that he won't crucify them in print, they feed William smart remarks which make them (the band) sound great. And so the spirit of "Spinal Tap" lives on.
However, humour is capably matched by more serious perceptiveness, and the fun in watching William's nice-boy decency (as he collects the laundry of three groupies who have just lured him to bed) is mixed in with the sometimes poignant reality of growing up. As the repressive world of parents (symbolised by an ever-anxious Frances McDormand) stands in contrast to the me-first universe of rock stars (when they rattle on about political change what they really want is girls, lots of them) big-screen newcomer Patrick Fugit and Goldie Hawn's daughter Kate Hudson (playing a groupie) turn in sensitive, finely-nuanced performances of low-key power. Even though the same points are made more than once, they are never less than entertaining, while Crowe resists the lazy route of plastering the soundtrack with 70s rock hits.
Visit the official "Almost Famous" website.
Read an interview with Kate Hudson.