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Loving the Alien.

Mixed notices then and now for John Carpenter's sci-fi love story - cum human warning parable, but the fact is is that if it touches you it's a touch that stays for ever. It's a lovely film headed up by Jeff Bridges' wonderful turn as the alien from outer space teaming up with Karen Allen for a road trip to a Nevada crater, where he will be picked up by his own species and taken home.

Taking on human form, that of Allen's deceased husband, much of the humour is derived from how the alien tries to adapt to a human lifestyle. The language, food, customs and romance, but always there is a serious thread running through the narrative. He was invited here by the contents of Voyager One, but now the suits want him for less than honourable research, so the pair, coming together as one after she is obviously in a state of kidnap worry, have to stay one step ahead of the authorities.

So there's suspense in the mix via the chase dynamics, as well as some beautiful sequences, one of which has animal lovers of the world punch the air with unbridled joy. The premise is of course flimsy, and cribbing bits from ET and Close Encounters did the film no favours under critical analysis, but the emotional whack is mightily strong, with the lead characters being so easy to root for. While Jack Nitzsche's synth based musical score is a sci-fi great, perfect.

A vastly under valued picture on Carpenter's CV, Starman would like to come and see us, if only we would give it the time. 8.5/10

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