HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
   
 
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story Goodbye To LoveBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Gwen Kraus, Bruce Tuthill
Genre: Musical, Drama, Weirdo
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: In 1983, singer Karen Carpenter was found dead from causes related to the "slimming disease" anorexia nervosa. This is the story of her life.

Todd Haynes' first film, co-written with Cynthia Schneider, is a true-life, short docudrama which has all of its main characters played by Barbie and Ken dolls. Due to the use of many original Carpenters' songs on the soundtrack without permission, the film was withdrawn.

Imagine if Gerry Anderson decided to make a Karen Carpenter biography - would the result have been something like this? It even features real hands for those tricky closeups. The film packs a lot into three quarters of an hour, contrasting the duo's conservative, "smooth" music with the turmoil America was going through in the 70's with the Vietnam War and Watergate.

And there is, of course, an examination of anorexia, explaining the effects of the disease and how it affected Karen, who was under pressure from the media and her family to look thin and presentable for her public appearances. All this wears Karen down, and she develops severe psychological problems. In fact, her overbearing family don't come out of this at all well, which could be another reason the film was banned.

But how seriously are we supposed to take all this? The use of dolls gives the film a campy tone, however sincere Haynes is about his subject matter. And the dramatization of domestic scenes resembles something out of a bad soap opera, complete with corny dialogue. From some angles, Superstar looks like a sick joke.

Despite that, the film works surprisingly well, with its attacks on consumerism and use of archive footage lending an abrasiveness to the proceedings. It's obviously the work of a promising talent. Also on the soundtrack: The Captain and Tenille, Gilbert O'Sullivan and Elton John. But no "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft", unfortunately.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 17560 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Todd Haynes  (1961 - )

Intriguing American arthouse writer-director whose student film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story created a big fuss, and is still banned to this day. The episodic Poison was a disappointing follow up, but Safe was heralded as a triumph. His document of glam rock, Velvet Goldmine, wasn't as well received, however Far From Heaven, a 1950's-set melodrama, was Oscar-nominated, as was the similarly-set romance Carol. In between those were an offbeat take on Bob Dylan, I'm Not There, and a miniseries of Mildred Pierce. He followed them with the apparently out of character children's story Wonderstruck.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: