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74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Starlet explores the unlikely friendship between 21 year-old aspiring actress Jane and elderly widow Sadie after their worlds collide in California's San Fernando Valley. Jane spends her time getting high with her dysfunctional roommates and taking care of her Chihuahua Starlet, while Sadie passes her days alone, tending to her garden. After a confrontation at a yard sale, Jane finds something unexpected in a relic from Sadie's past. Her curiosity piqued, she tries to befriend the caustic older woman. Secrets emerge as their relationship grows, revealing that nothing is ever as it seems. (Music Box Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Nov 20, 2012
    91
    Sean Baker's singular little ultra-indie is a strikingly unsentimental study in female friendship between unmoored souls in L.A.'s bleached, glamour-challenged San Fernando Valley.
  2. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Nov 4, 2012
    90
    A mismatched-friends drama whose overall sensitivity is belied by a couple of clumsily contrived plot points, Sean Baker's Starlet pairs story and setting perfectly.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Nov 8, 2012
    80
    It's a character study about faith in connectedness, with an unforced love for cross-generational companionship that's special indeed.
  4. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Nov 7, 2012
    75
    Starlet is an unusually subtle, quiet character study - especially given the potentially salacious subject matter - that builds to a quietly powerful climax.
  5. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Nov 23, 2012
    75
    Convincing performances from Hemingway and the charmingly crabby Johnson and an unhurried pace ensure that Baker's film achieves its modest goals.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Nov 4, 2012
    70
    Though named after a party girl's pet Chihuahua, Starlet could just as easily describe the two exceptional first-timers making their debuts in this brittle, beautifully understated San Fernando Valley character study.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Nov 20, 2012
    50
    The relationship is the best thing about the film, which otherwise feels hopelessly sad and tawdry.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Dec 28, 2013
    9
    This movie succeeded on its mission brilliantly. As in life, the most complex situations flower from the simplest premises, telling a genuine, plausible story, with no pretensions. There are no cheats no trap doors no back doors no diversionary plot twists. We just walk a journey with two people who become unlikely friends, and the audience is taken along their ride of discovery, learning with them as they go, in the same world we all know.

    This movie is first-rate in all the areas that matter the script, direction, performances and the low-budget, indie filmmaking is the only way to have gone with this one. A big Hollywood studio would have butchered this one.

    The only criticisms I have are very modest ones. Some drama with the minor characters does not seem necessary? Yet, I would give this a pass. Life has its distractions, and this is a movie about life. Also, the well-worn premise of the "unlikely pair" an arbitrary two people whom fate has thrown together makes the first few scenes predictable. Don't let that push you away. Hang in there. And I do recommend multiple viewings.

    I will not give away anything about this story. You deserve the same experience I had. That said, I will leave you with a question to ponder, and don't take it up until you have finished watching: is it ever good to hold a secret, even a big secret, away from someone who has every right to know?
    Expand
  2. Dec 6, 2012
    9
    This little ultra indie is strikingly unsentimental.
  3. PHL
    Jan 11, 2013
    8
    The critics got this right (and I'm surprised the user score is so low). I loved this movie. It's absolutely charming, and I would recommend you see it. It's a New York Time's Critics' Pick! Expand
  4. Apr 30, 2013
    5
    A good movie about a young, energetic, friendly woman who, as a result of various circumstances, befriends a lovely, somewhat grumpy old lady. Not very original, as you've probably already surmised, there have been tons of movies, and TV shows covering the same relationship dynamic, and quite possibly the same basic outline. Some of those good, others bad, still others horribly bad and cliche, this however is 1 of the good 1s. The acting, directing and story-line were all good, resulting in a mellow, slow paced film with tiny peeks of highs and lows.

    It's shot in suburban L.A. and has a distinct L.A. feel to it, at least it did to me, in the neighborhoods, the mountainous backdrops and perhaps too in the characters. I suppose that might not be really important, but I like to get engrossed in he cities and countries I see in movies.

    The 1 bad thing I'd have to say about this movie though would be the ending, it seemed really abrupt, I assume the director/writer wanted us to mull over the last scene as we finished he movie but really it just left you wanting to see that scene/conversation played out and wanting the words that were implied to actually be spoken.

    Overall a good movie, not great but good.
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  5. Aug 24, 2013
    0
    It's sad to see a movie trying to tell a meaningful story go for shock by throwing an x-rated scene into the mix. I understand that the X industry is part of the storyline, but it was completely graphically unnecessary it badly overshadows the movie to a "0." Expand

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