Tawdry Tinseltown to

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY

Rosi, now 91, re­tired from film after his 1997 adap­ta­tion of Primo Levi’s mem­oir, The Truce. His in­tel­lec­tual rigour is sorely missed.

MAPS TO THE STARS Di­rected by David Cro­nen­berg. Star­ring Ju­lianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Evan Bird, Olivia Wil­liams, Sarah Gadon, John Cu­sack, Robert Pat­tin­son. 18 cert, gen re­lease, 112 min Dr Stafford Weiss (John Cu­sack) is a hor­rid psy­chother­a­pist who has made a for­tune with his self-help man­u­als; his snake-oil ther­a­pies go over well with ghastly, self-ab­sorbed ac­tors such as Ha­vana Se­grand (Ju­lianne Moore), a fad­ing star who has made claims of ma­ter­nal sex­ual abuse against her late, more fa­mous mother. Well, you know where to look for the best yarn of the week. On the sur­face, Hu­man Cap­i­tal sounds like a 1980s soap op­eras about deca­dent in­dus­tri­al­ists with har­ri­dans for wives. There’s some of that go­ing on. But the knot­ti­ness of the plot and the bril­liance of the per­for­mances mark it apart.

Set in Mi­lan, the pic­ture – told in dis­crete chap­ters, each of which cov­ers the same pe­riod – fol­lows sev­eral un­for­tu­nate folk con­nected to Gio­vanni (Fabrizio The long dead legend con­tin­ues to make cameo ap­pear­ances as a caus­tic, be­lit­tling spec­tre (Sarah Gadon) in her needy, un­lik­able daugh­ter’s life.

Else­where, Weiss’s wife Cristina (Olivia Wil­liams) plays mom-ager to their nasty 13-year-old son Ben­jie (Evan Bird), a child star who makes Justin Beiber’s worst out­bursts look like un­flinch­ing al­tru­ism.

For all the glass walls and phoney ther­apy, the Weiss fam­ily have se­crets, not the least of which con­cern Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), their scarred py­ro­ma­niac daugh­ter. She man­u­fac­tures a friend­ship with Car­rie Fisher (play­ing Gi­funi), a cor­rupt prop­erty de­vel­oper. Dino (Fabrizio Ben­tivoglio), a lo­cal buf­foon whose daugh­ter Serena (Matilde Gi­oli) dated the crook’s son, is per­suaded to invest money in an un­sta­ble ven­ture. Gio­vanni’s wife Celia (Va­le­ria Bruni-Tedeschi) be­comes in­volved in re­de­vel­op­ment schemes. In the fi­nal breath­less sec­tion, we follow Serena as her story con­nects dots and solves mys­ter­ies.

The story hangs around a late-night car ac­ci­dent. Some

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