Fast-Paised review: 'Backstage'

Emmanuelle SeignerEntertainmentMusic IndustryMovies

Passionately devoted/creepily obsessed fan Lucie (Isild Le Besco) works her way into the inner circle of her favorite singer, Lauren (Emmanuelle Seigner).

Big question: Does this French drama criticize celebrity fixations without celebrating the glitzy star culture?

Catch it: Le Besco plays Lucie with deer-in-the-headlights, bug-eyed panic, as if she's always scared of losing sight of the woman she longs to become. Lauren's ex tells Lucie, "Trying to look like her makes you ugly," but there's nothing to Lucie but Lauren; it's the disturbing, desperate emptiness that comes from loving a stranger more than you love yourself.

Skip it: If you want "Backstage" to avoid cheesy, tabloid-style melodrama. Co-writer director Emmanuelle Bercot should have slapped the catfight between Lucie and Lauren right off the page.

Bottom line: The film has nothing to say about the reasons stars ascend to idol status, and Lucie's ability to stay close to Lauren despite Lucie's obvious psychological issues hurts the story's credibility. But spine-tingling suspense comes from a young girl under the addictive spell of celebrity, undeterred by a star's confession that she really can't offer any of the validation that her fans so desperately crave.

Bonus: Think your relationship is screwed up? It's nothing compared to two people who, while getting hot and heavy, both fantasize about the same person!

Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.

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'Backstage'

Directed by Emmanuelle Bercot; written by Bercot and Jerome Tonnerre; photographed by Agnes Godard; edited by Julien Leloup; sets designed by Eric Barboza; music by Laurent Marimbert ( lyrics by Marine Bercot); produced by Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta. A Strand Releasing release; opens Friday at Landmark Century Centre Cinema. Running time: 1:55. No MPAA rating (sensuality, partial nudity, language and mature themes).

Lauren - Emmanuelle Seigner

Lucie - Isild le Besco

Juliette - Noemie Lvovsky

Seymour - Valery Zeitoun

Daniel - Samuel Benchetrit

Jean-Claude - Jean-Paul Walle Wa Wana

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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