By Keith Staskiewicz
October 05, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

Gods Like Us

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What do we want from our stars? Are they cultural deities representing what we wish to be, or outsize reflections of who we already are? Ty Burr — the film critic at The Boston Globe and a former critic for this magazine — unfurls his astronomical map and charts the shifting skies of Hollywood, from silent stars like Pickford and Bow to modern juggernauts like Clooney and Jolie, and even the ersatz fame of the reality era. Gods Like Us is straightforwardly chronological, tracing an unbroken line through more than a century of celluloid heroes, eventually landing on a truth: The success of these silver-screen idols says just as much about us as it does about them. A-

Gods Like Us

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