The Hero's Journey: an Analysis of Cameron Crowe's Film Almost Famous Using Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

Topics: Joseph Campbell, Lester Bangs, The Hero with a Thousand Faces Pages: 4 (1448 words) Published: April 26, 2005
"The Hero's Journey: An Analysis of Cameron Crowe's Film Almost Famous Using Joseph Campbell's Monomyth"

an analysis of
Almost Famous (2000)

Almost Famous (2000) is a dramatization of writer/director Cameron Crowe's real-life experiences as a teenage rock reporter for Rolling Stone. Based on thinly-veiled autobiographical material from the precocious beginnings of Crowe's early career, the screenplay shapes sentimental memories into movie magic. But how did Crowe give his own coming-of-age tale such universal appeal? A closer look reveals that Almost Famous, like most films worth their salt, is yet another incarnation of the greatest and only mythological adventure, "The Hero's Journey." This relationship can be explained using the framework of Joseph Campbell's phenomenal book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, along with certain terms and interpretations from The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler. William Miller, our unlikely hero, lives at home with his protective mother Elaine and rebellious older sister, Anita. His ORDINARY WORLD is the sheltered existence of a San Diego junior high school student. When Anita has a fight with her mother and decides to leave home to become a stewardess, her parting words to William make her the HERALD of his adventures to come. With the car packed and running, Anita takes hold of William on the front lawn, looks him dead in the eye and says: "One day, you'll be cool." Under his bed, the stack of albums she has left for him includes the Who's Tommy, with a note taped to it. "Listen to Tommy with a candle burning and you will see your entire future," it reads prophetically. And so it was written. Rock music is about to change William forever. In the next scene, we are introduced to an older William—now fifteen and in high school—obsessively scratching band names into his notebook during class. It is time for the appearance of his SUPERNATURAL AID "to supply the amulets and advice that the hero will...

Cited: Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968.
Vogler, Christopher. The Writer 's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. 2nd ed. Studio City: Michael Weise Productions, 1998.
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