7.9/10
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Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988)

Not Rated | | Short, Music | 30 April 1988 (USA)
Karen Carpenter's battle with anorexia nervosa and the cultural influence of the Carpenters in the 70s.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Merrill Gruver ...
Karen (voice)
Michael Edwards ...
Richard (voice)
Melissa Brown ...
Mother (voice)
...
Dad / Mr. A&M (voice)
Nannie Doyle ...
Cherry Boone (voice)
Cynthia Schneider ...
Dionne Warwick (voice)
Larry Kole ...
Announcer (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joanne Barrett
Gwen Kraus ...
Narrator (voice)
Michelle Manenti
Moira McCarty
...
Himself - President of the United States (archive footage)
Celia Pearce
...
Himself - President of the United States (archive footage)
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Storyline

Karen and Richard Carpenter are young musicians living with their parents in Downey, California. Richard shows great promise as a songwriter and Karen, who plays drums, begins to sing vocals, thrusting the duo into stardom. They become wildly successful, Karen's striking voice and Richard's soft melodies capturing the essence of the nation's yearning for calm after the turbulent Sixties. But Karen strives for perfection and becomes increasingly fearful of her weight, despite being a slender woman. Eventually she is diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, a mental disease relating to stress, lack of control, and low self-esteem. A fight for Karen's life ensues. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Release Date:

30 April 1988 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film has been out of legal circulation since 1990, subject to a cease and desist order pertaining to unauthorized use of the Carpenters' music. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence, a crew member can be glimpsed at the end of the hallway as the camera rounds the corner on its way into Karen's bedroom. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: What happened? Why at the age of 32 was this smooth voiced girl from Downey, California, who led a raucous nation smoothly into the 70s, found dead in her parents' home? Let's go back, back to Southern California where Karen and Richard grew up. Back to the home in Downey where their parents still live today.
See more »

Connections

Features I Dream of Jeannie (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the Best Films Ever
2 September 2004 | by (Glen Cove, New York) – See all my reviews

Squashed by the Carpenter estate this film is all but impossible to see. I think it has less to do with "unauthorized" use of Carpenter songs then the fact that Karen's family comes across as monsters and largely responsible for her death.

Quite simply this film is a kick in the face, a punch to the gut and utterly heartbreaking. Despite the fact that the film is told with "Barbies" this film moves you to tears. We watch as she is manipulated in to performing and pushed ever onward with little or no control of her life. This is cross cut with scenes of the time period and with information about her condition. The entire film is scored with the music of the Carpenters as well as the other hits of the period. You will be moved.

If you want to see great film making or great story telling find this film and see it. 10 out of 10.

Frankly this film should be seen by more people then those dogged enough to search it out since despite the tragedy it could be someone's ray of hope out of the darkness.


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