Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd's Forbidden Love - The Hollywood Reporter

The trailers prepare us for an unforgettable and haunting time. In the first teaser for the highly anticipated HBO series the idola title card heralded the show as a product of the “sick and twisted minds” of euphoria Director Sam Levinson and international pop star Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye. The second clue pointed to an origin story: From “the gutters of Hollywood,” it said.

There’s always something suspicious about shows trying to market themselves as edgy. What are they trying to prove? To make that obvious effort the idol The controversial appearance took an ironic turn when the series became the subject of an explosive device Rolling Stone report. Interviews with about a dozen members of the cast and crew revealed that the show, which was originally touted as exploring the seedy underbelly of Hollywood and the music industry, became what it tried to ridicule. Sources claimed that the drama’s perspective changed after director Amy Seimetz was replaced by Sam Levinson. Rather than subtly skewering the misogynistic and predatory nature of the business, the idol became a forbidden love story – the stuff of a toxic man’s imagination.

the idol

The conclusion

Try too hard

Venue: Cannes Film Festival (out of competition)
air date: Sunday, June 4 (HBO)
Pour: Lily-Rose Depp, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, Rachel Sennott, Suzanna Son, Ramsey, Hank Azaria, Troye Sivan, Dan Levy, Da’vine Joy Randolph, Eli Roth, Hari Nef, Jane Adams, Jennie Ruby Jane, Mike Dean , Moses Sumney
Creator: Reza Fahim, Sam Levinson, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye

Levinson’s the idol unfortunately confirms this report. This is an older, even more stylized version of euphoria‘S second season. Instead of a high school student dealing with her addiction, it’s about a grieving pop star trying to make a comeback. Jocelyn (a convincing Lily-Rose Depp) has spent the past year recovering from heartbreak and her mother’s death from cancer. In the first of two episodes of the idol In Cannes we see Jocelyn taking orders from a photographer. He asks them to name “sexy,” “hardworking,” “vulnerable,” and “emotional.” As Jocelyn complies, the camera zooms out to reveal the entire operation buzzing around them. The photographer levitates, her assistant texts in a corner, her managers confer outside, and the intimacy coordinator makes a desperate attempt to ensure the pop star’s nude rider is followed. The show tells us that stars are corporations.

In the background of the shoot, Jocelyn’s label boss Nikki (an excellent Jane Adams) argues with the star’s creative director (Troye Sivan), who objects to Jocelyn baring her chest for the album cover shoot. She tells him to “stop blocking America.” That brief moment announces the show’s intent, holding out a metaphorical hand to the incoming haters: sex sells, and the idol revels in it.

For what purpose is not entirely clear. the idollike the second season of euphoria, runs almost exclusively on Vibes. Levinson applies his efficient and stylish direction to every scene. Some of them are dynamic, some are contradictory, and most are confusing. It makes you wonder if the show is going to end up being regressive because it’s trying so hard to be transgressive. Jocelyn asserts her agency for the first ten minutes, only to relinquish it at any given moment. Rarely does a scene go by without the camera showing flashes from her boobs or ass. You start to wonder if anything will come of this, and in the second episode it seems likely that it won’t.

Jocelyn’s relationship with Tedros (Tesfaye, a bit stiff), a nightclub manager and self-help guru with dubious motives, develops in a similar way. Their courtship—captured in confidently staged scenes, overlaid with soapy music—builds up so fast it’s hard to believe. They meet at Tedros’ club, where Jocelyn is going out after a busy day. She’s struggling to nail her choreography for a music video, a photo of her with cum on her face has just gone viral, and a reporter from Vanity Fair (Hari Nef) was waiting to interview her for a big profile.

At the club, Jocelyn makes eye contact with Tedros and the rest is history. Levinson briefly presents their flirtation: Jocelyn and Tedros spot each other from across the room; he asks her to dance over the club’s speakers; They end up making out in a random stairwell. It all feels kind of like a music video for a Drake single. Jocelyn’s attraction to Tedros is explained in a breathtaking conversation with her best friend and assistant, Leia (a particularly wonderful Rachel Sennott). When Leia cautiously advises Jocelyn against dating Tedros because he has “rapist” moods, the smitten pop star admits that’s why she likes him. None of this inspires belief in Jocelyn’s agency.

the idol shows a glimmer of potential when it stops trying so hard to be shocking. The sex scenes between Depp and Tesfaye have a tension that kills any sense of eroticism. It’s a relief when the series moves away from them and focuses on Joceyln’s struggle to make a comeback. Her mother’s death has left Jocelyn vulnerable and helpless. Her unpredictable moods keep her management team on edge, but they’ve also left Jocelyn feeling insane. When we see the young star trying to get back into music — through chatting with Tedros or physically demanding music video rehearsals — it feels like the show is working toward a more interesting thesis, rather than just a lengthy commercial for one to be a cursed experience.

Ditto Levinson’s portrayal of the machinations of the music industry. At one point, Nikki von Adams tells Jocelyn — in a crushing, scene-stealing monologue — that she’s actually more of a product to her team than a person. This comes after the singer spent a night with Tedros and recorded a new version of a label-sanctioned single. These attempts at exploration – in Jocelyn’s words, creating music that will endure long after her – are met with awkward reticence and disapproval. The confrontations between Jocelyn and her team highlight how ridiculously cruel it is to be a star and to be a public figure. Paradoxically, they also make Jocelyn feel like a person rather than a product.

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