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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 1,688 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 27 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)
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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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Details

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Release Date:

30 April 1988 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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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, why are you doing this?
Karen: I was constipated.
Richard: Oh, you liar!
Karen: Don't tell mom and dad, Richard.
Richard: Why shouldn't I? Why shouldn't I tell them? You are ruining my life!
Karen: If you do, I'll tell them about you and your "private" life.
Richard: You say one word to them, one fucking word...
See more »

Connections

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User Reviews

 
More tastefully done than you might guess
28 October 2001 | by (Chicago, IL) – See all my reviews

All of Todd Haynes' heroes are outsiders, even Karen Carpenter. As portrayed in "Superstar," she's too square to hang with anyone hipper than Dionne Warwick, but too grown-up to cope with the strict confines of her suburban upbringing, and ceaselessly stalked by the insecurity manifested in her anorexia. Some of the details are probably over-sensationalized, and Richard probably deserved a fairer shake than the movie gave him, but the essentials of Karen's battle with herself are all there in chilling detail. Oh yeah, and the songs, featuring Karen's lead vocals and drumming, and Richard's underrated arrangements, are pretty good too. If you can't see this one, at least get hold of the songs and update your ears.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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