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527 Ratings

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story

Directed by Todd Haynes
United States, 1988


A biopic of pop star and anorexia victim Karen Carpenter, acted out by Barbie Dolls.

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Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story Directed by Todd Haynes
Superstar’s brilliance lies in how its mix of satire and naivete discombobulate audience responses.
November 21, 2019
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Haynes’s radical form elegantly zigzags between documentary directness; dramatic re-creation; apparent non sequiturs, such as repeated, perhaps mock-Freudian shots of a doll getting spanked; and dissertation-like statement of intent.
November 19, 2019
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The dead quality of mannequins fascinated Haynes. Superstar was created to test whether audience identification was possible in a movie where all the characters were inanimate. But nothing can disenchant the doll playing Carpenter or stop the hurt radiating from her figure. So waxy and catatonic, it’s the perfect symbol for the experience of being inside a body that feels wrong. As the heroine sings before the horror eats her up, “I’d like to quit/Nothing ever seems to fit…”
April 28, 2017

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