By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Now available for rental or purchase on Amazon and opening in select theaters is a film which features the final performance of late actor Robert Vaughn. Gold Star tells the story of a young woman unsure of what she wants to do in life as most of it has been spent under the strict guidance of her classical musician father. Now that the father has become seriously ill, she has to come to terms with their strained relationship. Written, directed by, and starring Victoria Negri, the film offers a moving examination of life, mortality, and reconciling everything in between.
Negri stars as Vicki, a college dropout currently living aimlessly while trying to avoid commitments to any one career path. When her elderly father Carmine (Robert Vaughn) suffers a debilitating stroke, Vicki’s mother Deanne (Catherine Curtin) calls her home. Once Carmine gets released from the hospital, Deanne asks Vicki to help her with his care. As Vicki spends more time with her father, she struggles with some unresolved issues between her and her father and must face the reality that he won’t be around much longer.
Making her directorial debut with Gold Star, Victoria Negri shows much promise as a filmmaker and storyteller. Her film gives audiences a very poignant portrait of a lost woman struggling with her fears regarding her future and a fear of addressing her various feelings toward her father and others close to her. Negri’s style gives the movie a very pensive and cerebral mood which reflects the soft-spoken protagonist’s nature and state of mind. This choice works well for several moments in the film, but I feel that some things needed to be explained more clearly. Nevertheless, I related greatly with Vicki’s struggle, as I have gone through some of the same problems in my life, and I feel that many others will relate as well.
The filmmaker not only shows skills as a writer and director, but she also has some genuine talent in the acting department. In addition to Negri, the film features outstanding performances by Catherine Curtin, Jacob Heimer, and Anna Garduno. In his very last role, Robert Vaughn delivers a heartbreaking performance as Carmine, a one-time gifted musician who obviously had a profound impact on people who knew him in his prime, but now can barely move or even talk. Even with the character’s limitations, Vaughn does a tremendous job expressing his emotions. And it is a performance and character that juxtaposes that of Victoria Negri’s character who struggles expressing herself and her multiple emotions, though her struggle is psychological.
Just as it is affecting to see Vaughn’s character declining, it is sad to know that audiences will no longer see the talented and incomparable Robert Vaughn in movies or television. Negri’s movie gives the Hollywood legend a beautiful send off–a sort of acceptance of a torch handed to her by a cinema veteran. Well, the talented filmmaker is off to a very good start with Gold Star, and I hope to see this lead to more writing and directing in her future.
For information on where Gold Star is playing in theaters, go to http://www.goldstar-film.com/
Otherwise, seek it out on Amazon.