Baker effectively juxtaposes two vastly different worlds, though he never makes the case that either is as significant as the gauzy visuals suggest.
This is confident, engrossing storytelling, and the actors are terrific.
Starlet sneaks up on you.
| Original Score: 3/4
Where it counts, "Starlet" ... allows its characters room to maneuver within the potential cliches.
The film itself deserves praise for its portraits of these two women and the different worlds they inhabit.
The plotline is unpromising - young porn actress befriends crotchety old lady - and the setup is underwhelming. But stick with "Starlet," and you'll reap unexpected rewards.
The film is about as indie as indie movies get, with a homemade, washed-out look that drives home the genuineness of the performances.
| Original Score: 4/5
This slender film is bolstered by strong performances, particularly from Hemingway (daughter of Mariel) and her 85-year-old co-star.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
A strikingly unsentimental study in female friendship between unmoored souls in L.A.'s bleached, glamour-challenged San Fernando Valley.
| Original Score: A-
"Starlet" is like a flower growing out of a septic tank.
| Original Score: 2/4
As its title suggests, "Starlet" is a Hollywood story, albeit one that Hollywood would not be likely to produce.
You may have never heard of Sean Baker, but he's one of the most astute and least sentimental chroniclers of life on the fringes working in film today.
[An] ethereal slice of life in the San Fernando Valley ...
A thrillingly, unexpectedly good American movie about love and a moral awakening ...
It's a character study about faith in connectedness, with an unforced love for cross-generational companionship that's special indeed.
Starlet represents a welcome throwback to the smoggy West Coast character studies of the 1970s - and not just because the generational chasm between its two leads evokes Harold and Maude.
An empathic, absorbing tale of the old and the beautiful, Starlet tracks an unlikely intergenerational friendship in the San Fernando Valley.
Unfortunately, the film signals its more serious aspirations aggressively, via "thoughtful" synth drones and an italicized parental subtext.
| Original Score: 3/5
Powerful sense of place roots film about the uneasy friendship between a 21 year old and an octogenarian.
[A] brittle, beautifully understated San Fernando Valley character study.