Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1980. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Christopher Gore. Cinematography by Michael Seresin. Produced by David De Silva, Alan Marshall. Music by Michael Gore. Production Design by Geoffrey Kirkland. Costume Design by Kristi Zea. Film Editing by Gerry Hambling.
Four years in the life of students at a New York performing arts school are chronicled in this energetic, enjoyable musical. After the ensemble of youngsters experience their painful, awkward beginnings, they move on through to the ups and downs, highs and lows of four years of high school combined with the desire to make it in the big bad world of show business. A dramatic singer, a determined ballerina, a learn-by-instinct dancer who ignores his studies, and even a sad gay boy who plays lonely songs on his guitar while all the straight kids have a life populate the cast (one gay student at a performing arts school? And he’s the only one who is no fun to be around? Let’s just skim over that one for now). The script is full of excellent observations of youthful life and features excellent dialogue, both traits of which overcome its inability to focus on any particular storyline for long enough to feel like a movie instead of a collection of best-of clips from a television series (the film, incidentally, went on to become a deservedly popular television series, with the gay student population diminishing from 1 to 0). On top of this you’ll enjoy the collection of infectious tunes that fill the screen with sound and movement, most especially the title song and the boisterous “Hot Lunch” number.
Academy Awards: Best Original Score; Best Original Song (“Fame”)
Nominations: Best Original Screenplay; Best Film Editing; Best Sound; Best Original Song (“Out Here On My Own”)
Golden Globe Awards: Best Original Song (“Fame”)
Nominations: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Irene Cara); Best Original Score