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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 - 55 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
Show:All Rankings | With Reviews
Order by:TCI | Tier | Date Ranked | # Stars (Reviews)
TCI User Score
flowing flowing
21T1
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
collection
36T2
rnest rnest
6T5
te18 te18
7T9
Plaza
8T9
Antares Antares
62T4
Hailey
91T9
flubug
80T5
ARUCARD ARUCARD
40T4
soliloquist soliloquist
73T3
Dimentia Dimentia
70T5
lineuphere lineuphere
72T5
kyleloomis kyle.loomis
7T9
Corganist
72T4
imdb imdb
81T10
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
Hult20
95T10
Kerc Kerc
25T8
catfacer catfacer
70T6
Esmerodo Esmerodo
75T6
acrolyne acrolyne
88T9
1strong
94T10
winds winds
6T8
Cerebrus Cerebrus
60T5
ladyspiggott ladyspiggott
85T9
jackinthebox jackinthebox
70T6
ArloJWiley
80T7
nicks112
95T9
Judo_Koala Judo Koala
70T4
AsherFord
87T10
Sheldrake Sheldrake
70T7
Lonewolf2003
72T5
Mulholland Mulholland
80T9
willow
86T9
ChrisReynold ChrisReynold
58T4
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.
anandare
80T6
debaser1985
68T5
HanekeSolo HanekeSolo
90T7
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.
Jos Jos
84T8
Grouchy Grouchy
84T7
RadioFreeLee RadioFreeLee
78T6
ntnvnv ntnvnv
85T9
dzacharyt
16T6
denis408 denis408
4T1
IMDb_byvotes IMDb-byvotes
80T10
PeregrinVelo PeregrinVelo
80T9
mosesismoses
87T9
coutinho coutinho
65T4
Sinister Sinister
60T3
green_man Edson Abas
75T8
silentbob
85T7
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).
Warren Warren
85T8
Veterini Veterini
88T10
purity
2T6
johnatanjj johnatanjj
76T5
ddyment
70T6
ANorthSiderA
95T8
Timon88 Timon88
84T9
masoo masoo
75T7
ooh_waffles ooh waffles
8T8
chadvercetti chadvercetti
78T8
sacmersault
65T4
Alien
50T3
SheWas SheWas
75T9
Bratz couldn't have done this better.
batui
95T10
joachimt joachimt
70T6
sidehacker sidehacker
73T7
OldAle1
90T9
zomgmouse
70T5
gargantua gargantua
82T9
FallFoliage
60T5
standardchin standardchin
90T10
mscoulson
88T9
Brilliant in an odd way. It's a shame it's not widely available.
Alon_Reter Alon Reter
75T9
jbs5
96T8
rootbeercirc
98T10
x_human x-human
85T9
RoundMyWay RoundMyWay
60T6
engin engin
75T9
postmodifier postmodifier
95T10
Elisheva Elisheva
50T1
The actors are kinda stiff.
Rumplesink_ii Rumplesink
65T5
Coheed
70T7
Canguro Canguro
89T10
moodeuce
60T2
Seethruskin Seethruskin
4T6
nrm4
72T8
meester meester
70T6
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.
Dennis_Brian Dennis Brian
85T8
ladymcdeath ladymcdeath
78T7
maborosi maborosi
70T7
Carlospro Carlospro
80T8
boxgod boxgod
71T7
Johnny_Case Johnny Case
70T9
hoolie
95T9
GarthLandow
83T7
cardsos01
65T8
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.
bawalter1
9T8
mallamp
60T3
ColonelTigh
90T5
3_Qs ???
75T8
mysteryman mystery_man
90T10
FitFortDanga MartinTeller
89T10
Almost too campy to stomach, but hilarious and oddly moving in its own way.
pavementSAW pavementSAW
85T8
zmt311 zmt311
79T9
Grisso
69T5
mattburgess mattburgess
96T10
undinum undinum
90T9
Box Of Frogs
4T10
pzingg
80T3
benito
75T7
electriccafe electriccafe
85T9
burhenn
90T7
DLawrence
75T5
Cuculiza Cuculiza
75T7
The way Haynes makes us care for Barbie dolls is nothing short of masterful. Geniously inventive documentary.
welike
30T7
Mingus
2T6
Darren Darren
73T6
Barkinson
80T10
karolcrist karolcrist
80T8
DBibby DBibby
70T5
HVM
80T9
spiritofeden
87T10
rb42083
80T6
BaalMan
90T9
volver
30T2
Zeno
75T7
avgcrtckr avgcrtckr
71T9
ears550 elixir
71T8
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.
Meowfresh Meowfresh
92T9
NorthSider NorthSider
95T10
Limdebois Limdebois
80T9
syvyys syvyys
85T7
Infenso paah
90T10
jeffv jeff_v
75T8
ledfloyd
70T5
mark83
8T9
OneLouder One_Louder
65T4
negative
3T8
borges
4T6
by_Devol by Devol
85T10
Bondo
85T9
KungFuDolly KungFuDolly
9T9
lizzle
80T6
NickGlass
88T10
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.
felixm85
88T9
JerryJ JerryJ
80T8
donezo
98T10
soybomb42
85T7
Raiders
93T10
RNG
92T10
yilb yilb
70T8
Weird at how effective this is when it is a preposterous idea at the outset.
caseymanning
70T3
GrimsChild GrimsChild
65T9
Nroo Nroo
68T5
fenixdown fenixdown
79T7
dejvid22
91T6
filmaffinity filmaffinity
65T7
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.
coltrane
3T3
Mochard Mochard
72T9
Golfingdanls
6T5
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.
Baby Sloth
75T7
kangadoodoo kangadoodoo
75T9
MUBIvotes MUBIvotes
40T9
PeaceAnarchy PeaceAnarchy
75T5
Really silly and yet oddly effective in its portrayal of anorexia. Worth watching just for the originality of the production.
JM1138
79T9
Parallax Parallax
81T7
eitan62
95T9
Dicke_Taube
50T2
Ocelot Ocelot
65T7
Ick.
Spunkie Spunkie
45T3
Anorexia Nervosa is....inventive, yet didactic.
mightysparks mightysparks
60T7
frbrown frbrown
50T1
onetwothree
60T7
noir noir
80T6
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.
dinadineke dinadineke
80T6
Perfect dolls and perfect music showing an imperfect story. Watch the 'trailer'
Sebastian
66T5
NRM03
84T10
Cronos
60T6
Dick Laurent
90T8
philocrates
1T1
supergloo supergloo
9T8
ramshackled
90T9
Phil_Clowns Phil Clowns
66T5
nrm5
78T10
lagartazul lagartazul
97T10
Robzilla
90T9
Average Tier 7.12 from 198 Rankings rss