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Short Film

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987)

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Summary: Karen Carpenter's battle with anorexia nervosa and the cultural influence of the Carpenters in the 70s. (imdb)

Country: USA

Directed By: Todd Haynes

Written By: Todd Haynes, Cynthia Schneider

Starring: Rob LaBelle, Gwen Kraus, Bruce Tuthill

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Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story belongs to 17 collections
1. Embedded Short Movie (public: moderated by Vandelay1 - 56 stars)
2. They Shoot Pictures' Recommended Viewing (public: moderated by Cinephile - 15 stars)
3. Doubling The Canon (your public collection - 12 stars) | remove from collection
4. Doubling The Canon (2010 update) (public: moderated by MMAlpha - 5 stars)
5. Brief Encounters (your public collection - 3 stars) | remove from collection
6. Never Officially Released (public: moderated by Hailey - 2 stars)
7. The Lost Picture Show Podcast (public: moderated by Coheed - 2 stars)
8. Doubling the Canon (2011 update) (public: moderated by MMAlpha - 1 star)
9. Doubling the Canon (2012 update) (public: moderated by Cinephile - 1 star)
10. Shorts Rated Over 8.0 on IMDb (private: astrakhan - 6 stars)
11. The Village Voice: 150 Groundbreaking Films (private: kevinjoseph - 5 stars)
12. Ignored Films (your private collection) | remove from collection
13. Ignored Films (your private collection) | remove from collection
14. Movies to See: Documentaries (private: Lord Moe)
15. Criticker Wishlist (your hidden collection) | remove from collection


Browse the full list of collections
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TCI User Score
PeregrinVelo PeregrinVelo
80T9
ChrisReynold ChrisReynold
58T4
meester meester
70T6
silentbob
85T7
Alien
50T3
dinadineke dinadineke
80T6
Perfect dolls and perfect music showing an imperfect story. Watch the 'trailer'
Rumplesink_ii Rumplesink
65T5
ladymcdeath ladymcdeath
78T7
hoolie
95T9
kangadoodoo kangadoodoo
75T9
debaser1985
68T5
AsherFord
87T10
KungFuDolly KungFuDolly
9T9
mattburgess mattburgess
96T10
ColonelTigh
90T5
dzacharyt
16T6
winds winds
6T8
JM1138
79T9
batui
95T10
BaalMan
90T9
welike
30T7
DLawrence
75T5
Esmerodo Esmerodo
75T6
Sheldrake Sheldrake
70T7
Sebastian
66T5
ARUCARD ARUCARD
40T4
sidehacker sidehacker
73T7
NorthSider NorthSider
95T10
electriccafe electriccafe
85T9
catfacer catfacer
70T6
sheepslasher sheepslasher
2T4
I found it silly at points when it wasn't trying to be... though, I can see why people would like this.
burhenn
90T7
hsncrspywl hsncrspywl
83T8
A good short film. While it does make the sympathy derive from the terrible behaviour of the Carpenter family - which lessens the tragedy a little - it's a very well-edited and disturbing piece, which says a lot for a film made with Barbie dolls. Very campy but very good - and affecting.
maborosi maborosi
70T7
standardchin standardchin
90T10
Baby Sloth
75T7
pavementSAW pavementSAW
85T8
Meowfresh Meowfresh
92T9
Mingus
2T6
karolcrist karolcrist
80T8
lizzle
80T6
Box Of Frogs
4T10
undinum undinum
90T9
noir noir
80T6
bawalter1
9T8
engin engin
75T9
ANorthSiderA
95T8
kyleloomis kyle.loomis
7T9
negative
3T8
yilb yilb
70T8
Weird at how effective this is when it is a preposterous idea at the outset.
mosesismoses
87T9
zomgmouse
70T5
MUBIvotes MUBIvotes
40T9
Alon_Reter Alon Reter
75T9
SheWas SheWas
75T9
Bratz couldn't have done this better.
donezo
98T10
benito
75T7
flowing flowing
21T1
Mulholland Mulholland
80T9
IMDb_byvotes IMDb-byvotes
80T10
anandare
80T6
syvyys syvyys
85T7
Corganist
72T4
mightysparks mightysparks
60T7
Sinister Sinister
60T3
caseymanning
70T3
GarthLandow
83T7
postmodifier postmodifier
95T10
RadioFreeLee RadioFreeLee
78T6
JakeAesthete JakeAesthete
71T8
To call a Todd Haynes film "gimmicky" is almost redundant. The strength of this film is that he uses the gimmick toward creating genuine pathos as well as an interesting juxtaposition of The Carpenter's and the loss of innocence of America in the 1970s (also helping to underscore the complexly ironic sadness of their music).
Judo_Koala Judo Koala
70T4
filmaffinity filmaffinity
65T7
Veterini Veterini
88T10
fayeshell
95T7
Infenso paah
90T10
rnest rnest
6T5
hellboy76 hellboy76
73T9
Hilarious yet honest and touching at times, this film was one of the first films I remember hearing about being illegal. This of course only added to it's cult appeal.
lineuphere lineuphere
72T5
3_Qs ???
75T8
Darren Darren
73T6
ddyment
70T6
Spunkie Spunkie
45T3
Anorexia Nervosa is....inventive, yet didactic.
supergloo supergloo
9T8
NickGlass
88T10
fenixdown fenixdown
79T7
coutinho coutinho
65T4
Dimentia Dimentia
70T5
flubug
80T5
Nepeta
80T7
Exploring the life of Karen Carpenter, and more importantly (and interestingly) the issue of anorexia, with all the characters played by barbie dolls. Ranks as one of the more ludicrous ideas I've heard for a film yet the end result is surprisingly effective and makes for a dark and haunting look at eating disorders.
by_Devol by Devol
85T10
GrimsChild GrimsChild
65T9
pzingg
80T3
soybomb42
85T7
Dick Laurent
90T8
chadvercetti chadvercetti
78T8
Zeno
75T7
Bondo
85T9
masoo masoo
75T7
RNG
92T10
Nroo Nroo
68T5
Cerebrus Cerebrus
60T5
Timon88 Timon88
84T9
lagartazul lagartazul
97T10
volver
30T2
Phil_Clowns Phil Clowns
66T5
Cuculiza Cuculiza
75T7
The way Haynes makes us care for Barbie dolls is nothing short of masterful. Geniously inventive documentary.
onetwothree
60T7
Stain Stain
50T4
Ugly wish-fulfillment fantasy for gay people who delight in the agony of clean-living middle-class heterosexual folks. Sort of how normal people watch offal like "Dallas" or "Dynasty" to watch rich people suffer
Criminal5 Alex Watkins
90T9
A truly singular combination of biopic, experimental film, social critique, cautionary tale, documentary, and even musical. It's a heady mixture that sets this film far apart from most of its ilk. The idea to have Karen and her peers portrayed by Barbie dolls is brilliant on at least a couple of levels, and the grotesque manner in which Haynes chips away at her appearance surprisingly effective at demonstrating the horrors of anorexia.
ledfloyd
70T5
Parallax Parallax
81T7
philocrates
1T1
x_human x-human
85T9
Barkinson
80T10
nrm4
72T8
jackinthebox jackinthebox
70T6
Hailey
91T9
Carlospro Carlospro
80T8
HVM
80T9
zmt311 zmt311
79T9
FallFoliage
60T5
spiritofeden
87T10
dejvid22
91T6
avgcrtckr avgcrtckr
71T9
rb42083
80T6
svenerik svenerik
90T9
It finally occurred to me that I could just go find this on YouTube and thwart Richard Carpenter's cease-and-desist ruling. The version I saw was super grainy but the central conceit works amazingly well and I was suprisingly moved by the ending. The sound collage of Karen's voice on several Carpenters tracks that appears a few times was remarkably haunting.
valmeade Enthusiast
85T10
The hokey parodies of documentary films and 70's pop psychology seemed annoying at first, but in the long run they probably helped to humanize these inhuman set pieces. The treatment of the Barbie doll as actor gimmick in this film goes so far beyond mere restraint -- and yet never dives fully headfirst into pure kitsch -- that it almost has to be seen to be believed.
Cronos
60T6
TrixRabbi TrixRabbi
87T10
The use of Barbie dolls was brilliant and I can't imagine the film being anywhere near as effective with live actors. The human tragedy combined with top notch experimental filmmaking. Well worth the 45 minutes.
Lonewolf2003
72T5
joachimt joachimt
70T6
nicks112
95T9
ears550 elixir
71T8
RoundMyWay RoundMyWay
60T6
sacmersault
65T4
JerryJ JerryJ
80T8
ArloJWiley
80T7
collection
36T2
Jos Jos
84T8
Dennis_Brian Dennis Brian
85T8
1strong
94T10
johnatanjj johnatanjj
76T5
eitan62
95T9
mscoulson
88T9
Brilliant in an odd way. It's a shame it's not widely available.
mallamp
60T3
felixm85
88T9
Kerc Kerc
25T8
Antares Antares
62T4
Johnny_Case Johnny Case
70T9
gargantua gargantua
82T9
ramshackled
90T9
Robzilla
90T9
Plaza
8T9
willow
86T9
OldAle1
90T9
rootbeercirc
98T10
Ocelot Ocelot
65T7
Ick.
OneLouder One_Louder
65T4
Raiders
93T10
FitFortDanga MartinTeller
89T10
Almost too campy to stomach, but hilarious and oddly moving in its own way.
HanekeSolo HanekeSolo
90T7
ntnvnv ntnvnv
85T9
jeffv jeff_v
75T8
Mochard Mochard
72T9
mysteryman mystery_man
90T10
wetwillies wetwillies
95T9
Haynes reappropriates the boilerplate made-for-TV biopic, Barbie dolls, the Holocaust, the suburbs, 50s kitsch and cheesy 70s pop music into a tragic, utterly moving critique of the pressures society places on women, the vicious nature of fame and American consumer culture at large. In some ways, it's the best of what Haynes accomplishes in his wonderful later films rolled into a stunning 43-minute opus, yet unique enough to completely stand on its own. A masterpiece of cinematic construction.
DBibby DBibby
70T5
Golfingdanls
6T5
nrm5
78T10
mark83
8T9
Coheed
70T7
PeaceAnarchy PeaceAnarchy
75T5
Really silly and yet oddly effective in its portrayal of anorexia. Worth watching just for the originality of the production.
ooh_waffles ooh waffles
8T8
green_man Edson Abas
75T8
moodeuce
60T2
Grouchy Grouchy
84T7
Hult20
95T10
purity
2T6
soliloquist soliloquist
73T3
Canguro Canguro
89T10
Grisso
69T5
Elisheva Elisheva
50T1
The actors are kinda stiff.
imdb imdb
81T10
denis408 denis408
4T1
borges
4T6
Limdebois Limdebois
80T9
NRM03
84T10
acrolyne acrolyne
88T9
te18 te18
7T9
Warren Warren
85T8
Dicke_Taube
50T2
coltrane
3T3
frbrown frbrown
50T1
boxgod boxgod
71T7
Neonman Neonman
46T1
Unevenly switches between student art film and one of those silly educational videos you saw in high school on a crummy VHS which made your heart lift when you saw the TV being wheeled into the classroom and you get to waste even more class time by having to find the right cords to plug in and carefully resuscitating the tape to make it play with any flickering pictures or wobbly sounds. But that nostalgia doesn't do much to stop this cheesy film not achieve the seriousness and education it need
Seethruskin Seethruskin
4T6
ladyspiggott ladyspiggott
85T9
jbs5
96T8
cardsos01
65T8
Average Tier 7.12 from 199 Rankings rss