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The Book of Stars

1 rating: 1.0
A movie directed by Michael Miner

Well received indie film about two orphaned sisters, one of whom, Mary, is a fifteen year old suffering from cystic fibrosis, while the other, Penny, is a twentysomething free spirit. Penny, an erstwhile poet, supports Mary and herself by prostituting … see full wiki

Director: Michael Miner
Genre: Drama
Release Date: January 1, 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about The Book of Stars

Book of Stars dreams and prostitution

  • Jul 2, 2003
Pros: good acting & story

Cons: weak delivery

The Bottom Line: ______________

A sweet and sappy story of two sisters, 15 year old Mary and her older sister, Penny. Mary has cystic fibrosis and is moving to the end of her days. She and Penny live in a barely passable tenement apartment since the death of their parents. Penny is a vibrant young woman, really not much more than a child herself, who has taken on the responsibility of raising the ailing Mary.

Although a published author, Penny has turned to prostitution to make ends meet and to cover the rising medical expenses for her sister. Of course, she is also feeding a rather nasty drug habit, so don’t go feeling all ‘poor Penny’ or anything. There are other ways to survive if you aren’t pumping all your bucks into your veins.

Mary is attempting to record her feelings and her family life in a scrapbook, called The Book Of Stars. Inside are all her innermost thoughts coupled with drawings and photos, almost a memorial tribute to her life. Her goal is to complete the book before she dies, but she lacks her own personal ‘feelings’. She’s never been kissed, never been in love.

When a new boy/man moves into the apartment building, both Mary and Penny are drawn to him. Kristian is a foreigner, lost in this new land and lonely. He too is drawn to the girls.

When a mysterious letter from a prisoner arrives, addressed to Penny, things take on a new look. Mary tries to get Penny to correspond with the prisoner, who is enthralled with her book. When she refuses, Mary writes him instead, pretending to be Penny and learns the story of his lonely existence as well.

Directed by Michael Miner and written by Tasca Shadix, The Book of Stars serves to be anti-climatic at best. It is a good story and the actors are outstanding in their parts, but it falls weak in delivery. It is a character driven movie but the characters aren’t given the punch they need to bring it forth.

Mart Stuart Masterson played the stiletto wearing Penny, out on the streets til all hours plying her trade. Under the circumstances she just looked too clean and proper to be a $20.00 prostitute and drug addict as well. Maybe it was because she was also highly intelligent in the movie, but I just didn’t get the feel of desperation from her. Loneliness, yes, she reeked of abject loneliness.

Sweet faced Jena Malone was the wanting and needing Mary. Looking for more, wanting to find the happiness she knew when the family was whole. You felt her pain and frustration with her disease and also her longing wishes for something more for her sister.

Karl Geary was Kristian, the mysterious stranger. A quiet and unassuming person that passed through their lives and perhaps changed both of the sisters. A very nice portrayal. Good old D. B. Sweeney was the prisoner, who you don’t meet head on until the end of the movie.

It is a sweet movie, even a poignant one, but it could have been more. Great watch for a rainy Saturday afternoon with a bag of chips and a tall cold lemonade.

The Book of Stars won Best Feature at the Stony Brook Film Festival.



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