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In Alan Parker's FAME, teenagers selected for New York City's High School for the Performing Arts push their talents to the limit to make it big in show business. This episodic tale follows savvy Coco (Irene Cara), timid Doris (Maureen Teefy), gay Montgomery (Paul McCrane), macho Raul (Barry Miller), soulful Bruno (Lee Curreri), and others as they struggle to achieve their dreams of stardom while coping with the universal teenage problems of loneliness, insecurity, and embattled, mercurial identity.
Cara, electric as the budding songstress Coco, shines brightest in the infectiously exuberant young cast. The film, which won Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, overflows at each corner of its loosely unfolding narrative with inspired music and dance numbers that seem to burst forth spontaneously out of sheer irrepressible emotion. With FAME (later developed into a hit television series), Parker finds a happy medium between the wildly diverging tones of his previous two features, the goofy kids-as-gangsters musical BUGSY MALONE and the harrowing prison thriller MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, and in doing so creates an enjoyable, glittering portrait of guileless teenage ambition.