The Last Movie Star: Review

The Last Movie Star

Burt Reynolds stars in this reflective, self-referential movie about coming to terms with your lot in life, and accepting your past mistakes. The premise is interesting, with Reynolds basically playing himself – Vic Edwards, ageing movie star of decades past, with his best movies and his prime behind him (Sorry, Burt). However the movie itself is dotted with poor pacing, with the opening sequences being so slow that is sends a shiver of trepidation through your body for the rest of the movie. It does get better, but not by that much.

We first see Vic saying goodbye to his beloved dog Squanto – named after one of his biggest films – a fitting device considering his movie career is now long dead. After his friend – Chevy Chase in the film – convinces him to accept his invitation to the ‘International Nashville Film Festival’, he treks across the country to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award, only to find out that the ‘festival’ takes place in the basement of a bar and the lifetime achievement award is made of fairy lights and gold spray paint. 

The best parts of the movie come in Act 2, with Lil (Ariel Winter) chauffeuring the frankly dickish Edwards around Knoxville, as he revisits the town that made him what he was after the lamenting the loss of it all now, in the present. The movie has some truly unique sequences where they splice Reynolds, playing Edwards, with scenes from Reynolds’ earlier movies, and the two men talk to each other through the dialogue. This is great, and fun, but it needs more than that to reach the heights it’s striving for. 

The acting can be poor at times, namely from Ellar Coltrane who plays a supporting character. At one point, Winter looks straight in to the camera a la Jim Halpert from Office US, which is definitely not what the scene is going for. Reynolds as usual is great, his no-longer-give-a-fuck attitude crumbling away to humility and begging forgiveness is a great, and very tough, arc to get through. What do you say to a man whose glory years are behind him? Nothing, just get him another whisky. I would also recommend one while watching this movie, to help them both go down a bit easier.  

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Lauren Turner is an Australian media specialist and keen cinephile. She loves Robert Eggers and can be found at her local offbeat cinema in Melbourne.


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