"I celebrate the me yet to come."
Recognizing all its flaws, I unabashedly love Fame. I understand that the characters fall into stereotypes, and I think many of their stories never reach a cathartic or dramatic conclusion; this is especially true of Ralph and Leroy. Also, these are oh-so-clearly adults playing teens; it even seems written that way most of the time. However, Fame achieves a complexity found in few films and almost no musicals. How is it that - for me - this film worked as both a cautionary tale and an inspiration? How is it that I recognized so many people from the acting world in these loosely drawn characters?
Parker's direction and the rather spontaneous musical numbers embody the passion, ambition, dedication, triumphs, disappointments, and blindnesses that afflict these people. More to the point, I've known some artists whose talent amazed me, but yet you don't know them. You know talentless hacks, many of whom can't act dead. Each of these people recognizes that what most likely awaits them is a boulevard of broken dreams, spoiled ambitions, and a life counting their tips, hoping enough is there for rent, but each is also driven by an indomitable spirit. Fame's achievement is capturing all that on film, even to some degree into one fantastic scene toward the end (Irene Cara's nude scene - you'll know what I mean if you see the film).
Additionally, I enjoyed the peripherals: the stage mother, the broken home, the absent but financially generous parents. All of these exist in varying forms.
Overall, it takes some effort to see past this film's flaws, but once you do, you won't be disappointed with what lies at its core.