A young man named Tristan (Charlie Cox) tries to win the heart of Victoria (Sienna Miller), the beautiful but cold object of his desire, by going on a quest to retrieve a fallen star. His journey takes him to a mysterious and forbidden land beyond the walls of his village. On his odyssey, Tristan finds the star, which has transformed into a striking girl named Yvaine (Claire Danes). However, Tristan is not the only one seeking the star. A king's (Peter O'Toole) four living sons - not to mention the ghosts of their three dead brothers - all need the star as they vie for the throne. Tristan must also overcome the evil witch, Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer), who needs the star to make her young again. As Tristan battles to survive these threats, encountering a pirate named Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro) and a shady trader named Ferdy the Fence (Ricky Gervais) along the way, his quest changes. He must now win the heart of the star for himself as he discovers the meaning of true love.
Let's just say after some of the the worldly and extremely erotic romances I've been reading lately, watching this movie was a much needed change of pace. Sweet without being sappy, romantic without being melodramatic, I found myself rather enchanted by the whole package "Stardust" offers up. Part of it reminded me a little of "The Village" because everyone is forbidden to cross the wall into the Faerie land, yet there are those born with a sense of adventure who cannot resist. (Check out some of these production pictures).
One such soul is Dunstan Thorn, who tricks the gatekeeper and jumps over the wall. Young, impressionable, and wanting to experience all life has to offer, he encounters a lovely slave girl who gives him a pretty flower and a kiss, then takes his hand and leads him into the privacy of her wagon. Nine months later, a bassinet is delivered to his door, with a note; it is Dunstan's son.
Tristan Thorn is every bit as romantic and adventurous as his father, only he's discoverd true love in the beautiful yet self-absorbed Victoria, and his most passionate wish is for her to see him as something more than a shop boy. Courting her becomes his full-time job, and eventually he loses his real job over it. One starry night, Tristan manages to sweep her away and have a picnic with her. As they sip champagne and gaze at the stars, one falls out of the sky, and Victoria tells him if he brings her back that fallen star, she will marry him. With his dearest dream within reach, he is determined to find that star.
But he is not the only one. Three evil witches, all sisters, covet the star greatly, as the heart of the star can return them to their former beauty. And a dying king's living sons fight each other as they must acquire the star in order to obtain the throne. Nothing is sacred as greed and vanity battle against each other and whatever unsuspecting soul comes within its path.
Yvaine is not happy to be yanked from her home high in the heavens, especially when she is injured in the fall. Then to find out she's being pursued by evil witches, greedy heirs to a kingdom, and a lovestruck boy - well, doesn't that just make her day? But at least Tristan seems harmless enough, if a bit misguided, and she goes with him as he travels back home. But everything is not as it seems, and Yvaine and Tristan find themselves being chased until they are eventually captured by a cruel and violent captain and his ragtag crew.
Despite the danger the two are constantly in, traveling together has drawn Tristan and Yvaine closer. Yvaine explains to Tristan that she's watched humans love for many centuries, and one thing she'd learned is that real love doesn't need to be proven - it just is. And Tristan teaches Yvaine that life is safe when you keep your distance and your emotions to yourself, but it's not as meaningful. The two slowly begin to fall in love, and reveal their true strength and courage while defending each other. And along the way, family secrets are revealed, evil is vanquished, and a kingdom gets their king.
Can I just sigh now? What a lovely story. I have been a fan of Claire Danes since she was in "My So-Called Life" (though I did read a disturbing thing about her in a magazine a few years back that said she didn't like to bathe - eww), and Charlie Cox, who plays Tristan, is just adorable - they make a cute couple in the movie and I was definitely cheering for them to fall in love. Michelle Pfeiffer is a wonderfully evil witch (can you believe she's 50?!) and Robert De Niro's turn as a grizzly and flamboyant captain is highly entertaining. The cast, even the selfish Victoria, is engaging and not afraid to poke fun when the drama is a bit over the top. It just looked like everyone was having a good time.
The book, written by science fiction author Neil Gaiman, is next in my tbr pile, especially after having seen the movie and I can't wait to get started on the book and find out what is missing from the movie. I have a strong belief that this book is going to make me feel like I do after I read a memorable romance novel - really quite wonderful.
Rating: ***** out of *****