7.9/10
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42 user 26 critic

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988)

Karen Carpenter's battle with anorexia nervosa and the cultural influence of the Carpenters in the 70s.

Director:

Todd Haynes
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Merrill Gruver Merrill Gruver ... Karen (voice)
Michael Edwards ... Richard (voice)
Melissa Brown Melissa Brown ... Mother (voice)
Rob LaBelle ... Dad / Mr. A&M (voice)
Nannie Doyle Nannie Doyle ... Cherry Boone (voice)
Cynthia Schneider Cynthia Schneider ... Dionne Warwick (voice)
Larry Kole Larry Kole ... Announcer (voice)
Gwen Kraus Gwen Kraus ... Narrator (voice)
Bruce Tuthill Bruce Tuthill ... Narrator (voice)
Joanne Barnett Joanne Barnett ... Herself - Singer
Todd Haynes ... (voice)
Moira McCarty Moira McCarty ... (voice)
Laurie Stone Laurie Stone ... (voice)
Michelle Manenti Michelle Manenti ... (voice)
Celia Pearce Celia Pearce ... (voice)
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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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 April 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Суперзвезда: История Карен Карпентер See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Iced Tea Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

The same scene of Karen in the hospital is used for Karen in her bed at home when her mother calls. See more »

Quotes

Mother: [taking Karen's measurements] Waist, 28, thighs, 20.
Karen: Why do you need thighs?
Mother: For the pants suit, the hip hugger.
Karen: I thought we decided against the hip hugger.
Mother: The pants suit's adorable, you can't just wear long dresses, Karen, I don't care what you read about the midi or the maxi.
Karen: I will NOT wear the hip hugger thing, Mother, it makes me look really fat.
Mother: [laughs] Fat! I swear, ever since that stupid columnist called you, hardy or something.
Karen: They called me chubby.
Mother: Whatever, chubby, you have just ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no ending credits, the film ends after shots of newspaper headlines detailing Karen Carpenter's death. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Velvet Goldmine (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Rainy Days and Mondays
Written by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams
Performed by The Carpenters
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bizarre, yet fascinating
3 April 2005 | by overbySee all my reviews

When I first heard of a Karen Carpenter movie acted out by Barbie dolls, I thought, "Yeah, right." Actually, it's not half-bad, revealing the ugly side of brother Richard and their parents. It's a shame the movie has been only available through the underground, though, as it portrays the heart-breaking effects of anorexia through clinical narration, montage, and pop culture to great effect. The use of dolls is actually ingenious, as we come to see how Karen was manipulated by her family, her record company, and society to conform to unattainable perfection. Although banned by numerous lawsuits, this film is available through alternative resources. If you look hard enough, you can find it.


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