Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Starlet": The Old and the Beautiful 

Wednesday, Nov 28 2012

An empathic, absorbing tale of the old and the beautiful, Starlet tracks an unlikely intergenerational friendship in the San Fernando Valley. Florida transplant Jane (Dree Hemingway) is employed by one of the area's main engines of commerce, breaking into the XXX industry and cheerfully working adult-movie trade shows. When not gently advising her roommate and co-worker Melissa (Stella Maeve) about the dangers posed by snorting oxy or by her equally tooted-up boyfriend, the ascendant 21-year-old porn actress, with her Chihuahua of the title in tow, amasses bric-a-brac found at yard sales. A thermos purchased from crotchety, long-widowed Sadie (Besedka Johnson) turns out to have $10,000 stashed inside it; keeping the loot, Jane relentlessly pursues companionship with the octogenarian, out of guilt, loneliness, or a more emotionally complex motive. Hemingway, daughter of Mariel (who also memorably played a worker in the skin trade in 1983's Star 80), and Johnson, an 86-year-old first-time performer discovered at a local YMCA, both bring the right amount of aggression and obstinacy for this bizarre push-pull dynamic to work. Director Sean Baker, co-writing his fourth feature with Chris Bergoch, does some deft balancing of his own: His genuine admiration for these two women extends to their idiosyncrasies, yet they never become fools, whores, saints, or coots.

About The Author

Melissa Anderson


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • SuperHero Street Fair 2014

    From Batman to Superman to steampunk, people dressed up as their favorite superhero — or villain — for the annual SuperHero Street Fair held along Isails Creek, at the end of Indiana Street, on Saturday, Sept. 27. There was food, drinks, and lots of EDM music to dance to — check out all our photos form the event. Photography by Christopher Victorio.

  • @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz Exhibit
    Nathaniel Y. Downes brings back photographs from exhibit @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz. @Large runs through April 26, 2015.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed