7.9/10
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40 user 34 critic

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988)

Not Rated | | Short, Biography, Drama | 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)
...
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


Certificate:

Not Rated
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Release Date:

30 April 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Суперзвезда: История Карен Карпентер  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ken- and Barbie-style dolls play all of the parts. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Title Card: The self-imposed regime of the anorexic reveals a complex internal apparatus of resistance and control. Her intensive need for self-discipline consumes and replaces all her other needs and desires. Anorexia can thus be seen as an addiction and abuse of self control, a fascism over the body in which the sufferer plays the parts of both dictator and the emaciated victim who she so often resembles. In a culture that continues to control women through the commoditization of their bodies, the ...
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Connections

Features The Partridge Family (1970) See more »

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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.


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