At the end of I Was Famous, does Vince value his fame more than his friendships?
I Used to Be Famous follows Vince, a former boy band member who has fallen on hard times, and Stevie, an autistic young man who is a gifted drummer. The story is told from Vince and Stevie’s perspective.
After discovering Stevie’s abilities, Vince spends some time getting to know the young man and eventually forms a band with him. When Vince is asked to tour with one of his old bandmates, he has to make a decision: either he should leave Stevie behind for a second chance at success, or he should support Stevie and maintain his friendship with him. The two eventually become friends.
So does Vince value his celebrity more than his friendships? Let’s take a closer look at the movie, shall we?
How did Vince and Stevie meet?
When Vince’s boy band broke up, his chances of a successful music career grew, unlike his successful ex-bandmate Austin. Vince must now make a living playing music on the streets, but unfortunately his skills are not recognized or appreciated by the people who pass him by.
When Stevie sits down on the bench next to him and starts an impromptu jam session with him, his luck begins to take a turn for the worse. It’s abundantly clear that Stevie has talent as a drummer, which is evident from the way he plays the bank like a drum.
Because of Stevie, some people gather around her and start filming the two artists on their phones. Stevie is the reason for this. Amber, Stevie’s mother, comes and drags her son away, but Vince later sees Stevie again when he realizes he is entering a church hall with his mother. Amber is Stevie’s mother.
It is here that he is first introduced to Stevie’s music therapy group, and also gets a second opportunity to recognize the youngster’s abilities. Vince accepts Dia’s invitation to join them and take part in the ongoing drumming practices that are taking place. Dia is a music teacher.
After some time, Vince finds out that the footage of him and Stevie performing on the bench has become very popular online. He uses this as leverage to get a gig at a local pub, but since he hasn’t asked Stevie to perform with him yet, the next step for him is to get the boy’s approval. He uses this as leverage to get a gig at a local pub.
Will there be a show tonight?
When Vince visits Stevie and Amber at their house, he waits outside for a while before being let in for tea and jam. After Stevie tells them about the performance, she is excited, but Amber, who is protective of her son, is less than thrilled about the idea of Stevie performing in front of a huge crowd, fearing for her son’s safety.
Stevie had a panic attack as a direct result of Vince and Amber’s argument. Amber is impressed with the way Vince is able to calm him down by mimicking the drumming session performed by the music therapy group. As a consequence, she offers a provisional acceptance of the gig.
Afterwards, Stevie and Vince begin practicing their future performance, and during this time Vince learns more about Stevie, including his passion for music and his desire to attend music college.
When gig day finally arrives, Vince and Stevie only enter the stage after another act has finished. Everything goes perfectly and the two put on an impressive performance, but when Vince decides to sing one more song than he should have, some people in the audience get restless. One of the men is particularly hostile and pokes fun at Stevie by laughing at the pots and pans he uses as drums.
After Vince retaliates by hitting the other guest, he and Stevie are thrown out of the bar together. When Austin, who was invited to the gig by Vince, sees his old bandmate pick himself up off the street, this awkward event becomes even more awkward. Austin was invited to the performance by Vince.
After telling Austin to go, Vince goes to see Stevie to check on him and make sure he’s okay. Unfortunately, Amber is furious and tells Vince to stay away from her son permanently.
Is Vince avoiding Stevie as much as possible?
When Vince finds out he can’t visit Stevie and is forced to return home, he is devastated.
In this section we get some new information about Vince’s story. He shares home videos of himself and his younger brother Ted, where we get a glimpse of the garage band they used to play in when they were younger. Unfortunately, we find out through flashbacks that Ted later died and that Vince wasn’t able to visit his brother in the hospital because at the time he was determined to play in his band.
It’s clear that Vince still harbors remorse over the matter, as evidenced by the fact that he travels to his mother’s to claim his brother’s harp. She bursts into tears as she confesses to him that she has no idea where it is.
Meanwhile, Stevie makes posters for her band called The Tin Men and successfully books a gig for them.
Stevie calls Vince and tells him the good news, but Vince thinks they shouldn’t go ahead because that’s how Amber feels about the situation. Stevie hangs up. However, Stevie matter-of-factly advises Vince to apologize to Amber for what happened, which Vince later does when he meets the two outside of the church. Stevie’s statement prompted Vince to apologize to Amber.
As a result of his apology, Amber has become somewhat more accepting of his relationship with their child, and all three have begun attending music therapy group together. At this point Vince is approached with the possibility of taking over leadership of the group as he has proven to be able to connect with the students.
The offer is one Vince considers, but when he is later approached by Austin, he has to consider another option.
What prompted Austin to get in touch with Vince?
Austin realizes that Vince still has what it takes to perform on stage after watching a video of Vince and Stevie performing together. Realizing this, Austin asks Vince if he would like to play a few songs on his farewell tour.
Vince accepts the offer, excited at the prospect of a second opportunity for fame. However, he is disappointed when Dennis, Austin’s producer, informs him that Stevie cannot perform with Austin.
Vince breaks the terrible news to Stevie. Although the young man seems discouraged, he encourages Vince to pursue his dream of fame despite his feelings.
Does Vince value his celebrity more than his friendships?
While Vince prepares for his tour with Austin, Stevie works on his drumming skills to prepare for music college.
After concluding that she is preventing Stevie from achieving his goals, Amber expresses her gratitude to Vince for helping her son and giving him the much-needed camaraderie he lacked. However, she also instructs him to avoid contact with Stevie as she does not want Stevie to deceive her son at this point in his life by making him empty promises.
It’s reasonable to think that this will give Vince the motivation to end his relationship with Stevie in order to embark on the farewell tour with Austin. Later we see Dennis give him a contract to sign, but instead of signing it and taking his second shot at fame, he decides to focus on his friendship with Stevie instead. We see that in the next scene:
On the day of the young man’s birthday, he and his mother discover that there are signs posted on the road with directions meant for them. After taking their VIP seats and following the signs to a miniature concert stage, they are surprised to see Vince standing there. After playing a special song for Stevie, he invites him on stage to perform with him and a group of other musicians, including members of the music therapy group.
Shortly after this point the film ends, but it’s reasonable to assume that Vince has accepted the apprenticeship he was given and maintained his connection with Stevie.
Why did Vince miss his second opportunity to become famous?
After Vince didn’t show up for his brother before he died, it’s possible that he went back to Stevie because he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to demonstrate his concern for someone else who needs his help.
It’s also possible that Vince came to the conclusion that he didn’t need the approval of others to feel good about himself. Instead, it’s reasonable to assume that Vince came to the conclusion that friendship is the only thing that really matters and that he found the companionship he (and she) needed in Stevie and his mother.
That’s how we see it, but if you have another theory as to why Vince chose friendship over celebrity, please let us know in the comments section below.