There are so many excellent movies about singers and bands, both fictional and real. If you’ve ever walked out of a theater or pressed “stop” at the end of a movie about the fictional kind, you’ll likely understand why I had to make this list. Sometimes it actually pains me to remember that a movie singer I fell in love with on the screen doesn’t really exist in real life!
Here are 5 I wish were real:
Celeste (Natalie Portman) from Vox Lux – You have never seen Natalie Portman like this. As Celeste — a singer who skyrocketed to fame after surviving of a horrific high school shooting — she is a foul-mouthed, heavily New-Yawk-accented diva who’s spiraling out of control. Jude Law plays her lifelong kinda-sketchy manager, and Raffey Cassidy plays both the younger version of Portman (the focus of the first half of the film) and her daughter (in the second half — trust me, it somehow works). This movie is, in a word, bonkers. But after watching Celeste’s climactic performance at the end, you’ll wish you could really go see her in concert.
Otis “Bad” Blake (Jeff Bridges) from Crazy Heart – In this 2009 drama, Jeff Bridges won an Oscar for transforming himself into “Bad” Blake, a faded country star and alcoholic who’s struggling to pull his life together for a new love interest, Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal, also Oscar nominated), and a mentee who’s risen to fame, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell). He’s the kind of down-on-his-luck guy you just have to root for, and after you hear “The Weary Kind” — the final song Blake writes in the movie (which went on to win Best Original Song in real life), you’d pay good money if you could actually bring him off the screen and witness him singing it in person.
Gretta (Keira Knightley) from Begin Again – This is one of those movies I probably wouldn’t have seen or even heard about if I weren’t a film critic for Redbox. It’s an indie that came out in 2013, and it is great. Knightley stars as Gretta, a struggling musician who’s discovered by a former record-label executive (Mark Ruffalo) after she just broke up with her boyfriend and songwriting partner, rising rock star Dave Kohl (Adam Levine). Once you see her sing, you’ll be sad that Gretta doesn’t really exist. But what does exist is the wonderful soundtrack from the film, including the Oscar-nominated song “Lost Stars,” which serves as something of a centerpiece in the plot.
Conner Friel (Andy Samberg) from Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – Ummm this Justin Bieber spoof is so over-the-top that you will definitely wish you could go see a ridiculous performance of Conner’s in real life — featuring Adam Levine holograms! I bet they’d thought of that in Begin Again! If that’s not enough to convince you, the countless A-list singers and celebrity cameos in the movie will make you believe in Conner4Real. At the very least it’ll make you want to do the “Donkey Roll.”
Ally (Lady Gaga) from A Star is Born – OK so yes, Lady Gaga is an actual singer — and one that I have seen in concert already — but Ally is not Gaga. She shares aspects of Gaga’s life, sure, but for some reason I’m truly intrigued by what ends up happening to Ally after the movie is over … maybe because I already know that Gaga went on to triumph on Oscar night.
Which movie singer do you wish were real?