Can Catherine Hardwicke ever escape the Twilight stage of her career? After contributing the first entry to that series back in 2008, the erstwhile Thirteen director followed up the saga of Bella and Edward with Red Riding Hood, a movie that's very, very heavily influenced by the tone, attitudes, and expectations of questionable YA fare. Now, Hardwicke's back with Plush, a story of obsession in the world of rock stardom that at a glance feels like an attempt to connect her present and her past in one big package of glitz and glam.
The plot here reads simply enough: Hayley (Emily Browning), front woman to the fictional rock band of the title (sadly, this film has nothing to do with Stone Temple Pilots), starts to see her fame slip away when her sophomore album flops and her brother (Thomas Dekker) - who's also her guitarist - dies of an overdose. Things start looking up when she finds a replacement in songwriter Enzo (Xavier Samuel), until their relationship crosses the professional line and things start to get hot, heavy, and stalkerish, threatening her life at home with her husband (Cam Gigandet) and their twin children.
Ring any bells? There's a good chunk of the trailer that calls to mind the frenetically tawdry delights of Thirteen, arguably still her best picture to date, but just as much that definitively smacks of Twilight's teen melodrama; as a result it's difficult to tell exactly who Hardwicke's intended audience is here, and there's an immediate sense that Plush might be better off as either a film about Hayley's dwindling commercial and artistic success or as a steamy, eyeliner-ridden romance. There's enough of the Hardwicke of old here to grab the attention of Thirteen's admirers, and enough of the new to attract the tween crowd (with a little Fatal Attraction thrown in for good measure), and maybe that's the line she's intentionally straddling.
So, all told, Plush looks like a curious beast - the film opens on Friday, so expect to see reactions start coming in soon. Interestingly, Hardwicke's relegated herself to even more Young Adult projects post-Plush; while she did pass on The Maze Runner (in order to direct this movie, in fact), she's got an adaptation of Karen Thompson Walker's best-selling novel, The Age of Miracles, on her docket - though there's little information available about that production at present. Maybe Plush won't totally line up with any of these movies, but it is interesting to see how hard a turn toward YA Hardwicke has taken recently.
Plush arrives in theaters September 13th, 2013.
Source: Millennium Films