Film Review: The Road to Fame

Hao Wu

By Candace Lee

While focusing and magnifying its lens upon a few senior students of China’s most prestigious drama academy, The Road to Fame captures the trials of struggle, triumph and quiet desolation that the children of 1979 faced. They suffered through the One-Child policy as a result of this attempt to suppress China’s booming urban population. The personal interviews with the children and parents illustrate the seemingly increasing impossibility of bridging the generational gap. The journey each student takes during their climb up the drama ladder is individualized and perfectly expresses the tipping balance of push and pull between what the older generation has to say and in what way the younger has interpreted or ignored them.

The parents grew up under the period of poverty and instability when China was ruled by Mao Zedong. The children were privileged and showered with mounds of familial affection undivided amongst any siblings under the One-Child policy. The two generations must somehow purpose their experiences into a way of understanding each other. Enormous pressure is placed onto the students as they shoulder their parents’ unfulfilled dreams and propel themselves headfirst into the showy and often unforgiving world of Broadway. To fulfill their dreams, performing on the stage the musical Fame and eagerly expecting what lies in store after their dramatic debut into the spotlight, the extreme cases being dazzling stardom and inevitable anonymity.

The Road to Fame is an engaging documentary that manifests into a reflection of the audience’s addressed and unaddressed dreams. It’s a mirror turned outwards to ask the hard questions: what lengths would you go to achieve your own dreams? Hao Wu, through this film, brings to light the unintended effects the One-Child policy has brought to China, how both parent and child are making the best of their circumstance, and how upbringing truly matters.

Film will be premiered in New York on Saturday, November 16th, 2013 at IFC Center (323 6th Ave New York, NY 10014) and expected to attend including Hao Wu, Vanessa Hope, 23rd Street Film’s Carlton Evans and Emily Oestreicher.

The Road To Fame Official Website:
The Road To Fame Official Trailer:

Hao Wu at IFC Premiere


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