I Used To Be Famous Plot Synopsis
I Used To Be Famous follows the story of Vince, a former boy band member who has now fallen on hard times, and Stevie, an autistic young man who is a talented drummer.
When Vince recognises Stevie’s talents, he gets to know the young man and forms a band with him. The two become friends but when Vince is asked to go on a tour with a successful former bandmate, he has a decision to make: leave Stevie behind to achieve a second chance at fame or support Stevie and continue his friendship with him.
So, does Vince choose fame over friendship? Let’s take a closer look at the movie.
How do Vince and Stevie meet?
Unlike Austin, his famous former bandmate, Vince’s musical career ended when his boy band split apart. To make ends meet, Vince now plays music on the streets but his talents aren’t appreciated by passers-by.
His luck changes when Stevie joins him on a bench and has an impromptu jam session with him. Stevie uses the bench as a drum and it’s clear that he has talents as a drummer.
It’s because of Stevie that a number of people assemble around them, filming the two musicians on their mobile phones. Amber, Stevie’s mother arrives and pulls her son away but Vince later sees Stevie again when he spots him entering a church hall with his mum.
It’s here that he witnesses Stevie’s music therapy group for the first time and he is given a second chance to appreciate the teen’s talents. Music teacher Dia invites Vince to join them and he takes part in the drumming session that is taking place.
Later, Vince learns that the videos of him and Stevie performing on the bench have gone viral. He uses this as leverage to get a gig at a local pub but as he hasn’t yet asked Stevie to perform with him, his next step is to get the boy’s approval.
Does the gig go ahead?
Vince shows up at the home of Stevie and Amber and is eventually allowed in for tea and jammie dodgers. After telling them about the gig, Stevie is excited but, worried about her son’s safety, the protective Amber is less than keen to let Stevie perform in front of a large crowd.
Vince and Amber argue and this causes Stevie to have a panic attack. Vince is able to calm him by replicating the drum session from the music therapy group and this impresses Amber. As a result of this, she tentatively agrees to the gig.
Stevie and Vince then rehearse their future act and Vince gets to know more about Stevie, his love of music, and his desire to go to music college.
The day of the gig arrives and after another act finishes, Vince and Stevie take to the stage. All goes well and the two perform admirably but when Vince decides to sing one song too many, some of the crowd get restless. One man is particularly aggressive and he mocks the pots and pans that Stevie is using as his drums.
Vince retaliates, hits the man, and is then thrown out of the pub with Stevie. This embarrassing moment becomes even more embarrassing when Austin, who was invited to the gig by Vince, sees his former bandmate picking himself up off the street.
Vince tells Austin to leave and then approaches Stevie to make sure he is okay. Unfortunately, Amber is furious and she tells Vince to permanently stay away from her son.
Does Vince stay away from Stevie?
Vince is heartbroken when he is told he can’t see Stevie and returns home.
It’s here that we learn a little more about Vince’s past. He plays home videos of himself and his younger brother Ted, and we get to see the amateur band they formed when they were kids. Sadly, we then learn through flashbacks that Ted later died and that Vince failed to turn up at his brother’s bedside because of his commitments to his band.
It’s clear that Vince still feels guilty about this and he visits his mother to ask for his brother’s harmonica. She tearfully tells him that she doesn’t know where it is.
Meanwhile, Stevie creates flyers for their band ‘The Tin Men’ and manages to book a gig.
Stevie calls Vince and tells him the good news but Vince doesn’t think they should go ahead with it because of Amber’s feelings. However, Stevie matter-of-factly tells Vince to apologise to Amber for what happened, which Vince later does when he sees the two of them outside the church.
After apologising, Amber becomes a little more tolerant of his relationship with her son, and the three of them go to the music therapy group. It’s here that Vince is asked to take over the group as it becomes clear that he has the ability to connect with the students.
Vince considers the offer but when he is later contacted by Austin, he has another choice to make.
Why did Austin contact Vince?
After seeing a video of Vince and Stevie performing, Austin realises Vince still has what it takes to perform on stage and he asks Vince if he would like to play a few songs at his farewell tour.
Vince agrees and is excited about his second chance at fame but is disheartened when he is told by Dennis, Austin’s producer, that Stevie won’t be invited along to perform with him.
Vince tells Stevie the bad news. The young man seems to be disappointed but he tells Vince to go for it regardless as he might not get another chance at fame.
Does Vince choose fame over friendship?
As Vince considers going on a tour with Austin, Stevie prepares for music college by practising his drums.
Amber visits Vince and thanks him for helping her son with music and friendship. However, she also tells him to stay away from Stevie as she is afraid he might confuse her son with false promises.
It could be assumed that this would give Vince the incentive to walk away from Stevie in favour of the farewell tour with Austin. We later see Dennis handing him a contract to sign but instead of signing it and taking his second chance at fame, he decides to focus on his friendship with Stevie instead.
On the day of Stevie’s birthday, the young man and his mum notice pinned-up signs on the street that contain directions meant for them. The signs lead to a mini concert stage and after taking their VIP seats, they are surprised to see Vince. He performs a special song for Stevie and then invites him on stage where they perform alongside other musicians, including people from the music therapy group.
The movie ends soon after but it can be assumed that Vince took the teaching job that he was offered and that he continued his friendship with Stevie.
Why didn’t Vince take his second chance at fame?
After failing to turn up for his brother before he died, Vince likely returned to Stevie because he didn’t want to give up this opportunity to show care for somebody else who needed him.
It’s also likely that Vince realised he didn’t need validation from a crowd to make him feel good. Instead, it can be presumed that Vince realised that friendship is all that matters and that in Stevie and his mum, he had a friendship that he (and they) needed.
This is our interpretation anyway but if you have any suggestions as to why Vince gave up fame for friendship, please leave us a comment below!
Read More: I Used To Be Famous Movie Review