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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

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

Title Card: As we investigate the story of Karen Carpenter's life and death we are presented with an extremely graphic picture of the internal experience of contemporary femininity. We will see how Karen's visibility as a popular singer only intensified certain difficulties many women experience in relation to their bodies.
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

Features The Partridge Family (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Never Fall in Love Again
Written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach
Performed by The Carpenters
See more »

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User Reviews

 
More tastefully done than you might guess
28 October 2001 | by eholSee 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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