Stardust, a 2007 film
So let’s get through this movie review, quickly. Stardust, a 2007 film, is it good? Yes. Is it worth watching? Yes. Do I recommend it? Yes. How is it rated by viewers on IMBD, the internet movie database? Currently, it is rated at 7.7, which is pretty good.
And Rotten Tomatoes has it at 84%. So there you have it.
And what about the cast, is it any good? It has a formidable one. To name but a few: Ian McKellen (narrator), Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Robert De Niro, Ricky Gervais, Peter O’Toole, Nathaniel Parker and Mark Strong.
Stardust is the prototypical romantic adventure story, written by Neil Gaiman, which follows to a “T”, Joseph Campbell’s, “A Hero’s Adventure”. In other words the story line is excellent. The special effects, the music score, which is magnificent, the timing and the Scottish scenery were all impeccable, too.
Claire Danes, who portrays Yvaine, the heroine of the movie, is literally a fallen star. She does a wonderful performance, right alongside Charlie Cox, who portrays Tristan Thorn, which is the hero of the story.
He is the quintessential poor little-village-shop-keeper who, by chance and circumstances, is forced to become a swashbuckling-sword-wielding-buccaneer and destroyer of evil, passionately falling in love with a fallen star, i.e. he leaps into the realm of an enchanted and romantic adventure, following the call of the hero.
You see, unbeknownst to him, he is of royal lineage and has a legitimate claim to the magical kingdom of Stormhold, which was left vacant by his naughty old grandfather’s recent death.
The only problem for Tristan is that there are several ruthless male heirs fighting to the death for this privilege, too. And if that was not enough trouble, he needs to find a huge ruby stone, which is attached to a star, in the night sky.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention that there are three mean witches vying for the fallen star, i.e. Yvaine, to rip her heart out and eat it, thus making them beautiful and immortal. And Yvaine has the ruby stone.
The funny thing is that Tristan, who lives in the tiny English village called the Wall, is in love with a local childish-yet-good-looking girl called Victoria, who really doesn’t care much for him, because of his humble background.
Yet, after losing his job at the village shop, because of her, he declares his love and makes her a promise. He tells her that for her hand in marriage he would cross the wall, which is utterly prohibited, and bring back a fallen shooting star.
Victoria tells him that he has got a deal, and that he should bring the star to her in less than a week, because otherwise she will marry Humphrey, a well-to-do village young man. Tristan has no idea what he has bargained for, and immediately he begins his adventure quest.
Let me talk about a couple of lovely and poignant scenes, which touch me, personally. Because I too, felt that I had finally found my fallen star. And unlike our customary fairytale happy everlasting endings, mine was not to be. Perhaps, I was just echoing gullible young Tristan who thought he was madly in love with Victoria, the village girl, and not unlike Don Quixote’s unwarranted love for Dulcinea del Toboso, a simpleton peasant girl, I too fell helplessly, passionately and epically in love with a dream.
In this scene Yvaine is trying to understand Tristan’s love for Victoria. Because she already suspects that Tristan’s love might be just a young man’s infatuation. There is an old saying about the love between a man and a woman that goes something like this: “The person that loves the most is the weaker party in that relationship”. And this could lend itself for abuse and heartache, because of the unequal nature of the love relationship.
Yvaine: Tell me about Victoria then.
Tristan: Well, she… There’s nothing more to tell you.
Yvaine: Because the little I know about love is that it’s unconditional. It’s not something you can buy.
Tristan: This wasn’t about me buying her love. This was a way for me to prove how I felt.
Yvaine: And what’s she doing to prove how she feels about you?
Lastly and in closing, through all the hardships and exhilarating adventures and seeing Tristan’s gentle heart, Yvaine falls deeply in love with him.
In this next scene, Tristan was turned into a mouse and placed in a little cage. She confesses her undying love for him, partly because she thinks that under his current spell, he cannot hear her. Next, Claire Danes delivers a beautiful and heartfelt monologue.
“Tristan? If you can understand me, look at me now. You know when I said I knew little about love? Well, that wasn’t true. I know a lot about love. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen centuries and centuries of it. And it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars, pain, lies and hate made me want to turn away and never look down again. But to see the way that mankind loves. I mean, you could search the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So, yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and, well, strangely easy to mistake for loathing. And what I’m trying to say, Tristan, is I think I love you. My heart, it feels love my chest can barely contain it; like it doesn’t belong to me anymore. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I’d wish for nothing in exchange. No gifts, no goods, no demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you love me, too. It is just your heart in exchange for mine”.