Anyone familiar with the film’s director Cameron Crowe would agree that “Almost Famous” is, indeed, almost real… yet there’s more reality to this film than the autobiographical side of it. Crowe’s William Miller is the physical representation of the universal music fanboy, an idealistic teenager unaware of the unglamorous side of rock and roll. Just like any other doe-eyed listener, he loves what he hears and the world around it. But what does Miller really know about the music world? Nothing, until he encounters Lester Bangs and a backstage pass to a Black Sabbath concert. He’s just like the atypical fish out of water, thrown fin first into a world he’s never truly known beyond the confines of a vinyl record.
Some would say this coming of age plot seems too cliche to be true, but they’re wrong. It’s different, it’s unique and it’s sweetly ideal because of the mystical connection that music has with the youth.
We see this embodiment further itself in Penny Lane, a seventies-era flower child daring to defy the groupie archetype through the Band Aids. At some point, she fails at this… and seems to succeed almost ninety percent of the time. It is through her story that we see the film argue that there’s more to the glam world of rock and roll than sex (there’s barely any sex in this movie). Crowe does a great job of bringing this up, Hudson makes the idea come to fruitition almost flawlessly, her blonde hair and sunny aura completing the image of true glue: an almost maternal like figure that makes the band a family.
But at the end of the day, Almost Famous is an ode to more than its fans: its a love letter to what some could call a golden age in music. Peppered with memorable tracks from the era, from Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”, raw music is the essence of this film– there’s no doubt about that.
Never has a film that has not been a musical exuded raw musicality like Almost Famous. Perfect for the aimless teenager, the idealistic music fan, or the aspiring journalist looking for an idea about life.