Scoring an assignment sight-unseen (over the phone) from Rolling Stone, 15 year old rock music fan William Miller (Patrick Fugit) enters the world of touring rock bands to cover rising stars, Stillwater. It’s 1973 and the tumultuous experience, watched from afar and in dread by his possessive, devoted mother (Frances McDormand), leads him through a maze of relationships and professional journalistic conundrums as he gets close to his subjects, through his friendship with guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup). Making things even more complicated is the alluring 'band aide’ Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), whose love for Stillwater focuses on (the married) Russell.
 

4
Great fun for its insights into the world of rock music.

In San Diego in 1973, 15-year-old William Miller (Patrick Fugit) has been hooked on rock 'n' roll ever since his departing older sister bequeathed him her record collection. William befriends rock journalist Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who gives him some important advice: if you're going to write about rock bands, don't make friends with them. Assigned by Rolling Stone magazine, whose editor doesn't know how young he is, William embarks on a national tour with the up and coming Stillwater, despite the misgivings of his mother (Frances McDormand), and he soon finds himself attracted to Penny Lane (Kate Hudson).

Cameron Crowe's semi autobiographical film may soft-pedal the sex and drugs of the music scene in the '70s, but it's still an exciting inside look at the world of popular music of almost 30 years ago. Billy Crudup as Stillwater's lead guitarist, Jason Lee as the lead singer and Noah Taylor as the manager, give sharp, intelligent performances, but it's Kate Hudson – daughter of Goldie Hawn – that you'll remember as Penny, the girl who sleeps with Crudup but who is loved only by the gentle, naive William, who has all kinds of problems getting those all-important interviews with members of the band. It's a sweet, rather wonderful film, painful at times, but also great fun for its insights into the world of rock, and, for my money, it`s much better than Crowe's award-winning Jerry Maguire.