Ultimately, I found this movie to be somewhat less than engrossing. Kathleen Hanna certainly has been responsible for some important music and is always articulate, but the presentation seemed very staid and somewhat narrow. It more or less follows a chronological structure, covering her early bands and then her health struggles, and in the end I didn't feel like I learned that much. It felt a bit by-the-numbers.
"Hanna has a compelling story, and Anderson is clearly in awe of her subject. Although not an outright hagiography, her film has nothing in the way of dissent, which wouldn’t have been hard to come by.... She clearly intended for The Punk Singer to celebrate the life of a punk icon. A little more distance could have been beneficial, but The Punk Singer is enlightening regardless." Kyle Ryan, AV Club. 3.5 stars
Amazing portrait of one of the most electrifying performers of all time. Kathleen Hanna had a powerful message to impart and by using music as her platform she turned protest into celebration. Like her music, this film reminds us how exciting, thought provoking, and fun feminism really is, and what a creative inspiration it has been to so many women over the years. Never apologize for saying what needs to be said.
Like Hanna's music, this is a fecking invigorating jab of adrenaline to the heart. At the same time, there's a lovely symmetry between the riot grrrl rage and the gentle compassion that bookend this herstory. Anderson has captured a flash of Hanna's infectious will-power and drives. "Girls like us pick up the hot handles / and burn our hands and we get over it."
An interesting documentary about a central figure in the riot grrrl movement, the third wave of feminism and in the last 25 years of rock music. It gives a very personal, even emotional account of the life of Kathleen Hanna, using present day interviews and archive footage. It shows how rock/punk can be political and relevant and how feminism did not die or lose its relevance. Also how sadly punk gave way to electro.
fuck, there were so many moments here that made me want to cry. just the self actualization kathleen propels in other women, including myself, is so awesome - i feel so intimately connected with the "what can be" that i become cognizant that my desires can actually materialize into reality. thanks kathleen.
Who Took The Bomp: Le Tigre on Tour (2010) Is a great complement to this documentary if you're looking for a more nuanced perspective on the fizzling out of the third-wave music scene. Too many Kate Hannah fangirls and not enough critique in this documentary.