Film Review: Top Star

Article By Kevin Young
Photo credit Niko

Is fame really worth it? This is the question Top Star, tries to explore. A benign gentle man becomes a corrupt and selfish “asshole” when judged by the other characters.

You’re going to see what life is like for a celebrity behind the camera. From the scandals that actually do plague the real life Hollywood and Korean entertainment industry to problems with finding your own identity which people can relate to.

Leading actor Uhm Tae-woong, stars as Tae-Sik the manager of the high profile actor Woo-Joon, played by Kim Min-Jun. Tae-Sik is initially Joon’s right hand man who will even lie to mask scandals that could ruin a celebrity’s image and career. Sik even tells Joon what to say at award shows when winning a gold trophy.

Tae-sik’s whole world soon starts to change when Woo-Joon decides to do a favor for his manager by offering him a role in his upcoming K-drama. It’s revealed that Tae-Sik always wanted to pursue acting or maybe it’s the universal dream of becoming famous.

Park Joong-Hoon Receiving NYAFF Celebrity Award

Tae-Sik having no acting experience leans on Woo-Joon for guidance. He eventually and slowly starts to garner fans and become a rival actor to Woo-Joon. It’s all fun and games until Tae-Sik embraces his newfound fame and starts to act like a real diva. He ditches his role as manager. His newfound colors start to really show.

He now sports a clean shaven look, styled hair, wears “man makeup”, and dresses like a rich man. The thing that drives him back to being human is taking care of his father who is plagued with Alzheimer’s. It’s painful to watch him feel obligated to care for his father who nearly abandoned him when Tae-Sik was a child.

Park Joong-Hoon Receiving NYAFF Celebrity Award

Tae-Sik even struggles with loving Woo-Joon’s girlfriend. After Joon discovers that Tae-Sik tried to woo her, an altercation occurs leaving Tae-Sik wet, ashamed, and embarrassed. Revenge proves too sweet for Tae-Sik as he unveils a secret he kept hidden to protect Woo-Joon.

This action sends Tae-Sik into a winding spiral in which he is confused and angry. This film really takes you deep into human emotion. It helps you question and maybe realize that fame isn’t everything. Celebrities often have to deal with scandals that the media discovers and exploits. Fame and money ruin long time friendships and hinder your human emotions as portrayed in this film.

Then there’s the other question explored in this film how do you revive a friendship after pushing everyone you held dear away?

The Top Star will be featured in the New York Asian Film Festival, which spans from June 27 to July 14, 2014. It will be held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Park Joong-Hoon Receiving NYAFF Celebrity Award

Goran Topalovic, Park Joong-Hoon, Samuel Jamier


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