True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet

  • Review Date: August 6, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 87 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Movie's take on teen drinking sends iffy messages.
  • Review Date: August 6, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 87 minutes

Age(i)

2
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5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
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14
15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Morgan's family life is hardly ideal -- her mother seems more entranced with enjoying her daughter's limelight than about the girl's well-being. Rather than take a hands-on role in her recovery from alcoholism, Morgan's mom ships her off to hide out with a friend and then secretly marries Morgan's manager. But Trudy's guidance gives Morgan the consistency she needs to take control of her life and overcome her addiction. Some mean-girl attitudes exist in school scenes, as the "in" crowd shuns Morgan because of her clothes.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

There's a budding romantic relationship between teens, but physical content is limited to a couple of kisses. Some scenes include sexual inferences: A girl tosses her bra from the sunroof of a limo, teens in a nightclub dance closely with guys they don't know, friends discuss how far they've gone with a boyfriend ("second" and "third base," namely). A movie-within-the-movie is called Girl on Top.

Language

Multiple uses of "hell," "bitch," and "damn," mostly by teens. "F--k" is implied a few times but obscured by other dialogue. Also popular is the contraction "fugly," usually used to describe unattractive attire. Other language includes "wanker" and "semen."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Seventeen-year-old Morgan is a recovering alcoholic, so there are lots of references to her irresponsible behavior (falling down, throwing clothing from cars, etc.) while under the influence. A couple of scenes show teens drinking, and Morgan also makes multiple references to needing a drink when she's under stress.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this TV movie is about a (fictional) 17-year-old actress who's a recovering alcoholic, so there's lots of mention of drunken irresponsibility, some scenes of teen drinking, and many times when a teen longs to drink to help ease stress. Rather than using the main character's situation to take a serious look at the issue, the story glosses over the painful effects of alcoholism and oversimplifies the recovery process. While the movie does attempt to promote messages about self-reliance and following your heart, and teens may relate to the peer and family struggles the main character faces, even that part of things is muddled by some strong language and all of the alcohol references.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

When teen star Morgan Carter (JoJo Levesque) collapses at the premiere of her new movie from alcohol poisoning, the Hollywood rumor mill starts eating away at her pristine image. Worried that she'll party her way to a dead-end career, her mom (Lynda Boyd) and manager (Justin Louis) ship her off to the Midwest to live incognito with Aunt Trudy (Valerie Bertinelli), a quirky family friend whose no-nonsense ways are a rude awakening for the spoiled star. But as she slips into the anonymity that her new identity allows her, Morgan discovers that life as an average high school student can be just as challenging -- and in many ways more rewarding -- as is life in the Hollywood glare.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

At first glance, TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET (which is based on the same-named book by Lola Douglas) seems like an amusing, feel-good tale about being true to yourself and taking responsibility for your life. And in many ways, it's a timely topic in this age of real-life teen stars behaving badly. (Maybe some of them would be well served by small-town life...) But unfortunately it deals very lightly with the weighty topic of underage drinking. At 17, Morgan is a recovering alcoholic who's been through rehab but still feels invincible, and she often muses during stressful times that she wishes she hadn't given up drinking. She also suffers a relapse in which she downs a bottle of vodka during an emotional low -- and her only repercussion is a brief hangover.

The movie's slot on Lifetime is somewhat odd, since the channel isn't likely to draw the film's target audience of teens, and the story is a bit too juvenile and predictable for Lifetime's more seasoned viewers. But perhaps it will provide common ground for teen girls and their parents to watch together and discuss the topics it addresses. So if you tune in with your teens, don't miss the chance to follow up with a chat about responsible behavior, the real-life consequences of drinking, and tactics for standing up to peer pressure.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the consequences of drinking. Point out to your kids all of the places that they see drinking -- ads, movies, TV shows, celebrity news. Tell them that these appearances are all designed to get them to drink. Let them know what's at stake -- that the age many kids say they first try alcohol is 12.8 and that 47 percent of kids who start drinking before age 14 become alcoholics within 10 years. Families can also discuss how the media portrays the stars' lifestyle. Is it just about the fancy clothes and glitzy homes, or is there more to the picture? What added pressures would fame (and lack of privacy) bring? Do you think a disproportionate number of stars turn to substances like alcohol and drugs to relieve stress, or does it just seem that way because of the media's obsession with their behavior?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 6, 2008
DVD release date:March 3, 2009
Cast:Ian Nelson, JoJo Levesque, Valerie Bertinelli
Director:Tim Matheson
Studio:Anchor Bay Entertainment
Genre:Drama
Run time:87 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byGeorgie.Paige April 30, 2009
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Read the Book, too!

Almost as good as the book!
Teen, 15 years old Written byPeppermint95 March 8, 2009
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Loved it!

This was a great movie. Kept my attention all the way through. The acting was good. There were only a few parts in this movie that were sexually suggestive. Such as in the begining of the movie when she throws her bra out of the limo's sunroof. The main issue that parents should be concerned about is that the focus of the movie is that she is a recovering alcoholic. HOWEVER the moive also shows the concequences for her actions. Its over all a really good movie. Anyone over nine would be fine to watch it.

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