not gonna be around forever. Does it ever really sink into the mind of
even a grown child that their parents will not be with them one day?
That the voice on the end of the phone, that figure in the easy chair,
that hand to hold, that surety of knowing there was someone who knows
and loves you better than anyone else in the world, will disappear
forever? GOLD STAR by first-time feature director, Victoria Negri, lays
bare a semi-autobiographical exploration of a young woman coping with
the impending loss of her elderly father.
many young folks her age, Vicki is drifting; not entirely sure where she
belongs, or what sheís meant to do in life. Her moorings lie in daily
runs, visits to the gym, and noncommittal hookups with her bartender
boyfriend. Her family ties are loose, yet strong enough for her head up
to Connecticut after her father falls ill with a stroke. She is ready
to support her mother, but the lady is a dynamo of wifely care to the
husband sheís still clearly besotted with. Feeling a bit of a third
wheel, Vicki can only sit around as various tests and treatments take
place. Itís a long time to think about life and the reason youíre
sitting there; the father who can no longer speak, and is steadily
looming toward the inevitable.
habitation at the hospital avails her a new acquaintance in Chris, who
is tending his stricken grandfather. A pole opposite Vickiís dark
introspection, Chris is bright, upbeat, and clearly smitten. He is
willing, even enthusiastic to befriend the girlís father, exhibiting
much more ease in the silent manís presence than his own daughter. Much
of her time alone with the convalescing Carmine is spent in
uncomfortable silence and frustration as he tries, but is no longer able
to communicate with his child. Their time together seems like one
overlong pregnant pause and Vicki yearns to be away rather than face
uncomfortable personal truths and possible recriminations in the face of
her fatherís mortality.
most narratives are judged by dialogue, one of GOLD STARís most stunning
aspects is its use of silence. Most of Vickiís dilemmas occur inside
her head, and not only is the audience able to read them, but we are
allowed to project and identify with the characterís moments of
loneliness, anger, sadness and fear of the inevitable loss.
notable is GOLD STARís gorgeous cinematography, as much as costar in
this film as anyone on two legs. The picturesque views of Connecticut
suburban life, where everything is pretty and just so, and oppressively
normal, add to the suffocation Vicki feels returning home and
withstanding all these undignified feelings, as well as wrestling with
her own self-doubt.
great Robert Vaughn makes his haunting and memorable final screen
appearance here as the father seeing his last days. He relates the
sense of loss of the person weíre told Carmine was; a musician, athlete,
and vibrant spirit, without any sense of self-pity. Things are what
they are, and Carmine is making of them what he can. Vaughn makes
Carmineís desire for peace with his child palpable, while avoiding
over-sentiment or schmaltz. Itís a performance that makes the viewer
feel the deep connection between the family members, and their knowledge
of where they can press or pull, and the often delicate dance that
STAR simmers up to its emotional climax, which is less about the daily
urgencies of coping with an ailing older parent (though it is there)
than it is about Vicki coming clean to her father, and her wish for his
understanding, even though she might not fully understand herself.
Painterly and lyrical, GOLD STAR is a rare glimpse into the heart of an
artist, and her inspiring catharsis in the face of heartbreaking loss.
Lady Miz Diva
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