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Starstruck (free)

  • Vilas Hall 821 University Avenue Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

An Australian teen musical comedy from 1982 finally gets its due. Info

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Australia's entry into the subgenre of 1980s teen new-wave musical comedy, Starstruck is an irresistibly lightweight movie that's aged far better than most of its contemporaries. Jo Kennedy stars as Jackie, a teen who lives in her mother's pub but yearns for stardom as a rock singer. With the help of her scheming younger cousin Angus and backing band The Wombats, she attempts to crash Australia's TV talent show and save the struggling family business. While the plot is pure fluff, Starstruck has a considerable amount of other aspects that make it more memorable. The direction of Gillian Armstrong, fresh from her debut film My Brilliant Career, is a major shift from her usual focus on period dramas but retains her feminist slant on storytelling. The colorful vintage costumes, detailed set design and inspired dance choreography root the film both in '50s rock & roll revivalism and golden-era Hollywood musicals; and the struggles of the film's charismatic young leads and eccentric bar regulars give the film a working-class edge that other teen films of the era lack. Long a neglected and hard-to-find cult favorite, Starstruck will be shown in a 2015 digital restoration that shows off the film at its colorful best. —Ian Adcock