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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.

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:

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story 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

The film was pulled from circulation in 1990, after a cease-and-desist order for unauthorized use of The Carpenters' music. As of 2016, sale or distribution of the film remains illegal. Hundreds of bootleg copies have been sold. 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

Karen: How's your meat?
Richard: Fine. How's your salad?
Karen: Horrible. I can't eat it.
Richard: Send it back.
Karen: I'm not even hungry. So sick of road food.
Richard: Just 2 more months to go, then we'll be
Karen: I know, we'll be home, for 2 weeks. It's just wearing on me.
Richard: Well you don't take care of yourself, Karen. You don't eat. I really think this diet of yours is the problem. I mean Karen, you look really thin.
Karen: I like the way I look.
Richard: Karen, you starve yourself, all you ever eat is salad and iced tea.
[...]
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

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

Soundtracks

This Masquerade
Written by Leon Russell
Performed by The Carpenters
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent
1 May 2002 | by jpm242See 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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