The film covers Karen’s life from the time of her “discovery” in 1966 to her untimely death by cardiac arrest in 1983. The movie begins with a quasi-first person recap of her mother Agnes Carpenter discovering Karen’s body in her parents’ Downey, California home on February 4, 1983, and then returns by flashback to 1966. The story touches on major points in Karen’s life from 1966 on:
Filmmaker Todd Haynes is known for making provocative films that subvert narrative structure and resound with transgressive, complex eroticism. The content of his work has made Haynes the subject of both acclaim and controversy, a whipping boy for debates about NEA funding and a figurehead in the new queer cinema. Although he doesn’t characterize himself as a gay filmmaker who makes exclusively gay films, he has pointed out in interviews that to do this would be taking only the content instead of the form of his films into consideration; Haynes’ name has become synonymous with that cinematic movement and its work to both expose and redefine the contours of queer culture in America and beyond. Born January 2, 1961, in Los Angeles, Haynes grew up in nearby Encino. He developed an interest in film at a young age, and while still a high school student, he produced his first film, a short about contemporary teenage life entitled The Suicide (1978). Haynes went on to study at Brown University… read more
She was the Christiane F. of Downey, California; the Republican Party's Lady Day. Oddly, Todd Haynes' Barbie doll Karen gave us more insight into feminine repression and the myth of perfectionism American-style, than any role I can remember since Kim Stanley's turn in The Goddess. I kept hoping Sonic Youth would back her up in Superstar, but the fates are cruel.
In 1988, filmmaker Todd Haynes released a short film about Karen Carpenter’s anorexia-related death. The entire film is, essentially, a reenactment of the events with the people being played by Barbie… read review