Director John Carpenter presents a romantic science fiction odyssey starring Jeff Bridges in his Oscar(R)-nominated role as an innocent alien from a distant planet who learns what it means to be a man in love. When his spacecraft is shot down over Wisconsin, Starman (Bridges) arrives at the remote cabin of a distraught young widow, Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen), and clones the form of her dead husband. The alien convinces Jenny to drive him to Arizona, explaining that if he isn't picked up by his mothership in three days, he'll die. Hot on their trail are government agents, intent on capturing the alien, dead or alive. En route, Starman demonstrates the power of universal love, while Jenny rediscovers her human feelings for passion.
While most movie buffs are likely to call Halloween the best movie from John Carpenter, others--die-hard romantics and anyone who cried while watching E.T.--might vote in favor of the director's 1984 hit Starman. It's easily Carpenter's warmest and most beguiling film, and the only one that ever earned an Oscar nomination. That honor went specifically to Best Actor nominee Jeff Bridges for his performance as an alien visitor to Earth who is knocked off course and must take an interstate road trip to rendezvous with a mothership from his home planet. To complete this journey he assumes the physical form of the dead husband of a Wisconsin widow (Karen Allen) who responds first with fear, then sympathy, and finally love. Carpenter's graceful strategy is to switch the focus of this E.T.-like film from science fiction to a gentle road-movie love story, made believable by the memorable performances of Bridges and Allen. It's a bit heavy-handed with tenacious government agents who view the Starman as an alien threat (don't they always?), but Carpenter handles the action with intelligent flair, sensitivity, and lighthearted humor. If you're not choked up during the final scene, well, you just might not be human. --Jeff Shannon