In persistently difficult times, like we are experiencing due to the ongoing pandemic, finding entertainment that can lift us emotionally and spiritually proves to be especially worthwhile. This article will review the American movie Five Star Day, which came out in 2010.
The central character starts his day reading his horoscope for his birthday, telling him that he will have a 5-star day, which he imagines as a promotion at work, a deepening of his relationship with his girlfriend, and a wonderful party with friends. Instead, if a day could get a negative star rating, he would have one for that day.
As a result of the opposite outcome of what he felt astrology promised, he sets out to disprove astrology by tracking down people born on the same day and in the same location at roughly the same time to see if any of them got the promised 5-star day.
In the worthwhile twist of the movie, the three other people he tracks down end up having an equally negative experience, which provides the “back-handed” compliment to astrology’s validity in the storytelling.
Why this Movie Now
Finding movies that explicitly use astrology as a premise in the storytelling are few and far between, so it is easy enough to watch them all and allow for the fact that they may be mediocre movies and incomplete understandings of astrology. Still, it is fun to see how astrology is supported or maligned in popular culture, where it is very much dominant these days. Keep in mind that the movie came out over ten years ago when astrology was not nearly as popular as it has become in the 2020s.
To properly unpack this movie, it will require looking at the details which will reveal the specific plot points that make the movie work or fail. So, if you want to judge it for yourself without this analysis prior to watching, then you should stop reading here and go watch the movie. In fairness, it is a good, not great movie, just on the assessment of the merits of what makes a bad movie (poor acting, terrible writing, shoddy cinematography, and so on), a decent/good movie (solid acting, flashes of brilliance in the storytelling, smooth photography, and so on), and a great movie (viable for an academy award or box office glory).
Okay, so the plot device is pretty standard fare. The promise of a great day becomes the worst day. The lead character gets fired, comes home early to find his girlfriend cheating on him, and realizes his birthday has gone down as the worst day of his life. Now he’s upset with astrology, falling into a deterministic type of thinking about how astrology should work with no assessment of the astrology source and its (or the astrologer’s) expertise.
His solution, which actually shows, through the writer’s script, a more than Sun sign knowledge of astrology, is to find several people who were born on the same day, in the same hospital, and around the same time as the lead character, Jake. He proceeds to track them down and see if they got a 5-star day, or something else. As it turns out, they all got the same kind of deterministic negative outcome for the day itself. Then, true to the comedy/drama/romance formula everyone ends up with a 5-star result from their terrible birthday.
The first woman he meets, Sarah, becomes his love interest by the end of the movie, and they find happiness together. Yvette, a social worker, attains a promotion. And Wesley, a lounge singer, gets discovered. All this adventuring happens under the backdrop of the main character, Jake, trying to finish his last class for his college degree, with his grade hinging on the presentation he is preparing to debunk astrology.
The vignettes involving the character interactions are mostly very good and well-acted, though a drunken scene involving Jake and Wesley is not very well done. Still, the lead and conclusion of the interaction are positive and worth watching. The ending to the movie is also weak, trying to offer some pseudo-Zen, “quantum physics”, free-will professing that is far less interesting than having the character talk about the similarities of the day of each of the people with the same birthday, which he so clearly encountered.
Truthfully, the movie does go far enough beyond the Sun astrology to offer up the idea that astrology is more complex than the daily horoscope. The lead character does mention other points in one’s astrology chart as factors for influencing the interpretation of your spiritual design and interconnection to the solar system. In summation, it’s like an arrow fired at a target that hit the black ring instead of the bullseye.
I recommend this movie, but do not highly recommend it. There are some solid performances within inconsistent plotting. These bright moments are enough to keep the movie going up until the rather unsatisfying monologue offered through a presentation in a college course the main character is taking to complete his degree. Basically, the movie is just clever enough to show that the writer had more than a passing understanding of astrology and uses a solid premise to attempt to prove/disprove astrology’s “accuracy” in the context of the movie’s story.
If this premise, for all intents and purposes, had not been dropped from the movie, it could have made for a much more interesting conclusion and satisfying growth for the main character. To a certain extent, the main ploy is the old “bad things lead to surprisingly good things” plot twist, delivered passably well, but not brilliantly.