Asif Khan’s review published on Letterboxd:
"They don't even know what it is to be a fan. Y'know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts."
Almost Famous is written and directed by Cameron Crowe and is arguably his best film. Almost Famous is unabashed about its love for the music. It is not trying to show any 'realistic account' of what Rock was in the 70's as much as the effect it had on generations of followers. So this film is a semi-autobiographical account of Cameron Crowe himself. Crowe was a journalist as a teenager, he wrote for Rolling Stone magazine as the character of William does. He toured with many bands, had fun, was inspired by his heroes and did many things. More than anything, Almost Famous is Crowe's love-letter to his past, the music that he loved, the people who were behind the music and how it changed his life and touched upon millions of people.
Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a wonderful performance and provides such an edge, charm and persona to a character who would've otherwise been reduced to that boring know-it-all mentor. His words so beautifully fit into the film and beyond, whatever he says really sticks out because you know its true. Then there is Billy Crudup who always gives such sensitive and heartening performances, yet never truly gets the recognition he deserves. His turn as the guitarist of the band Stillwater, with dashes of delusions, pride and ego that comes with being in that place as well as some moments where the character's humanity and his real self emerges are endlessly affecting. There is perhaps the most famous character of the film, Penny Lane played by Kate Hudson. Hudson seduces your senses, she has never looked so beautiful and her performance is effortless and the most complex (even if it doesn't look like one) thanks to the character that she plays.
The screenplay is beautifully written as well with endless charms and so many stories to tell. The film is very witty with catchy dialogues but with good timing and aren't stretched out or anything for laughs. The characters as I mentioned have their own particular arc, everybody has something to say and speak and Crowe gives them a full room to speak out. All the characters are desperate to find their way, to identify with something. The film is about the love one has for music (or anything where your passion lies) and the film drives on that spirit. Its savory, its sweeping, endlessly charming with enough dramatic conflicts and funny moments to entertain you and tell a story. I never wanted this film to end, such an amazing experience.