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Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988)

 -  Short | Music  -  30 April 1988 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,706 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 28 critic

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)
Edit

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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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 April 1988 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ranked #45 on Entertainment Weekly's "Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time" 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

Richard: Karen, wake up. Come on, we've got fifteen minutes.
[discovers laxatives by Karen's bed]
Richard: What are you doing with these?
Karen: Oh, I'm so sleepy.
Richard: How many laxatives did you take?
Karen: I hardly remember.
Richard: What are you trying to do? Ruin both our careers? Now, get up. Drink some coffee. Now, come on! We've got fifteen minutes! Redo your makeup! You're a mess!
See more »

Connections

Version of The Karen Carpenter Story (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent
1 May 2002 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

I recently saw Superstar in an art class of mine, having heard about the film for over ten years. I had been dying to get my hands on a copy, and was extremely excited about seeing it. It surpassed every expectation I had. I can't imagine the story being done any other way with Barbie dolls. When "Karen" is talking about how she feels fat, one can't help but look at the irony that she is being played by a stick thin Barbie but still insists she's fat--just as Karen couldn't see that in real life. Not preachy or cheesy at all, the "dolls" manage to inject more humanity in the film than actors could. One of the most beautiful, poignant shots ever is in Superstar--Karen Carpenter, alone in the studio, singing a very sad song as the camera pans up and the lights grow dim, the only visible thing her shining face and her echoing, melancholy voice. Do whatever you have to do to see this!!


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