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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

Ranked #45 on Entertainment Weekly's "Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time" 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

Mother: Did you notice the way she cleaned her plate?
Karen: Mother, didn't you know there are children starving in Africa?
[laughs]
Richard: But it's true, she's even back to her old favorites now: chili and tacos.
Karen: And that 3-course meal at St. Germain's, after the Grammy reunion.
Richard: You haven't lost a pound.
Karen: Or gained.
Mother: A hundred and eight!
MotherKarenRichard: [clink glasses] 1-0-8!
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 Poseidon Adventure (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

We've Only Just Begun
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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