I used to be famous

Netflix has been working on a UK slate for the past year, among other things Man vs. Bee on the TV side and I passed on the movies side. While the latter felt like a very Netflix movie, a much talked about thriller, I used to be famous may seem like an odd choice for a Netflix original.

The story of a former band member who finds an unexpected friendship with an autistic drummer might seem too low-key to make an impact on the streaming service. There’s so much new “content” (to use a terrible phrase) on Netflix every week that it’s inevitable that some movies will fall by the wayside.

You should make the effort to search I used to be famous though as it is a refreshing and lovable watch. It’s a film that marks its ultimate destination, but it’s done with such heart that you’ll be crying tears of joy by the end.

ed skrein, eleanor matsuura, i was famous


After opening with Vince (Ed Skrein) during his band as Vinnie D in Stereo Dream, I used to be famous jump forward two decades and Vince can’t even get a gig at local pubs in Peckham.

While moving to a stall, however, he meets Stevie (impressive newcomer Leo Long) who immediately hits it up with Vince. One viral video later and Vince feels like his second chance at music stardom has come, figuring he can convince his mother Stevie Amber (Eleanor Matsuura) to let her autistic son play a concert.

Vince flirts with making it again, thanks to the help of ex-Stereo Dream band member Austin (Eoin Macken), but what might surprise you is that the film isn’t really interested in this particular underdog story. Writer-director Eddie Sternberg is more interested in the human element of the story, and the film is stronger for it.

ed skrein, leo long, i was famous once


Adapting from his own short film of the same name, Sternberg based the character of Stevie on his cousin, who is autistic and a drummer. This personal connection is evident in the way the director chose to cast a neurodeviant actor as Stevie, as well as several neurodeviant actors in the film’s separate drum scenes.

Vince’s journey also ties into his brother’s death during Stereo Dream’s fame, seeking his own redemption for how he feels he let his brother down. If at times the film strays from over-emotionalism with its flashbacks, Skrein’s affecting performance keeps it from becoming too cheesy.

The music sequences are great and sell the idea that Vince could actually have a comeback with Stevie. In addition to the euphoric and tearful final performance, there is a powerful concert in the middle of the film that showcases the songs written by London Grammar, Dan Rothman and Hannah Reid.

leo long, eleanor matsuura, i was famous


Like everything else in the film, the musical sequences feel real and are delivered with heart. It may not be groundbreaking in its story, but no part of the movie ever makes you think it was designed by an algorithm, which can sometimes happen with Netflix.

There is genuine heart I used to be famous and even the most stony among us will be moved. Netflix may offer more impressive outings to watch this weekend, but I used to be famous he deserves to be in front of the stage.

I used to be famous is available to watch now on Netflix.

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