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Fame High (Movie) Review

 
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At A Glance...
 

Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
4/ 5


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We liked?


An intriguing look into the life of a student of the arts.

Not so much?


Leaves you wanting to know more about each of the kids' individual stories.


Final Fiendish Findings?

By following four very different kids on their path through a year at the school, viewers are introduced not just to the school itself, but to the types of people who choose to go there. The addition of original music and top notch performances make it a joy to watch, and the updates on how the kids in the film have fared were a welcome end to the journey.

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Posted June 6, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings?
 
 

What is pursuing a life in the arts really like?

Fame High is a documentary that follows one year in the life of four students at LACHSA. LACHSA – the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts – is a place where creative kids can find a home in rigorous study of the arts. While each of the kids featured is very different, both in their chosen disciplines and in their home lives – they are also very much the same, in all the ways that count.

Brittani is a talented harpist and singer from Wisconsin. Her talent and drive to succeed in music led her parents to opt to spend several years apart so that she could pursue her art. Now a senior, Brittani and her mom have spent the last few years in Los Angeles while her father and siblings stayed behind in their family home. But making your way in the music business is not so easy as just moving to LA, and frustration at the slow pace sets in. As graduation looms, Brittani falls prey to the lure of auditions, and soon the formerly straight A student is faced with the prospect that she may not even graduate.

Zac is a freshman at LACHSA. As a very talented young jazz pianist, Zac has the talent to take him far – but his overbearing dad may just be the thing that holds him back. While enrolled in a school like LACHSA, kids are expected to spend time studying their art, but Zac’s dad is obsessed with sending him out on jobs and “marketing” him as the next big thing. When Zac’s grades begin to slide, it becomes apparent that something has to change.

Grace, a senior, is a young Korean who fought her parents’ misconceptions about the arts in order to be allowed to study her love – ballet. After years of hard work, Grace is an highly talented dancer who still has issues with letting herself go. Her extremely disciplined upbringing doesn’t allow for things like boyfriends, but Grace just wants to be a normal teenager. As her audition for her dream school – Julliard – looms, Grace must face up to her fears and commit herself fully to her dance.

Ruby, another freshman, has always loved the theater, and finds that the atmosphere of acceptance at LACHSA finally allows her to express herself fully as an artist. Though she loves to act, she soon finds that the actual job of being an actor is not as glamorous as it seems. With both parents involved in acting, she was obviously raised in an environment that promotes creativity – but the pace of a life on the stage means that she must often spend her evenings alone.

Fame High is a really interesting look into not just LACHSA, but the types of students who go there. While each of the children featured had different upbringings and different talents, it was obvious that all of them were completely committed to their arts – and to doing whatever it took to make a living doing them. While I found the look into LACHSA to be quite informative and interesting in its own right, what really drew me in were the look into the lives of the kids themselves.

On that note, I almost felt as if the filmmakers were only skimming the surface of some really intriguing stories. Ruby, with her often absent parents and quirky way of looking at life; Grace, with her struggle to find herself amidst the confines of a very strict upbringing; Zac, who is so obviously being pushed into a life of performing and supporting his father; and Brittani, whose parents have given up so much, inadvertently adding a layer of pressure to their daughter’s years in school. While all of these topics are touched on in the film, I think a deeper look would have made the story that much more compelling.

Fame High is a peek into another world. LACHSA is a school filled with talented kids, each and every one of them determined to be the best. For kids who were used to being at the top of the game, it is an unforgiving look at what they face in a future in the arts. For kids who felt out of place in a standard school, it is a home away from home, a place where they can finally be themselves. By following four very different kids on their path through a year at the school, viewers are introduced not just to the school itself, but to the types of people who choose to go there. The addition of original music and top notch performances make it a joy to watch, and the updates on how the kids in the film have fared were a welcome end to the journey.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)