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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 ... Self - 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Todd Haynes made the film while he was completing his MFA at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. 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

Mr. A&M: Who else has heard this tape?
Richard: RCA, Columbia, uh Dekka.
Mr. A&M: And they all turned you down?
Karen: They said it wouldn't sell.
Richard: That hard rock's in.
Karen: And wholesome's out.
Mr. A&M: What's your name?
Karen: Me? Karen.
Mr. A&M: Karen, I like your voice. Tell you the truth, I think you kids have really got something here. Karen and Richard Carpenter, just a couple of kids next door. Now listen to me, you kids are young, fresh, and it'll just be up to me to make young and fresh a happening thing. I know it's a rough road out there and the ...
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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 Abba, Bee Gees, Carpenters: Les années Chic (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Sing
Written by Joe Raposo
Performed by The Carpenters
See more »

User Reviews

 
One of the Best Films Ever
2 September 2004 | by dbborroughsSee all my reviews

Squashed by the Carpenter estate this film is all but impossible to see. I think it has less to do with "unauthorized" use of Carpenter songs then the fact that Karen's family comes across as monsters and largely responsible for her death.

Quite simply this film is a kick in the face, a punch to the gut and utterly heartbreaking. Despite the fact that the film is told with "Barbies" this film moves you to tears. We watch as she is manipulated in to performing and pushed ever onward with little or no control of her life. This is cross cut with scenes of the time period and with information about her condition. The entire film is scored with the music of the Carpenters as well as the other hits of the period. You will be moved.

If you want to see great film making or great story telling find this film and see it. 10 out of 10.

Frankly this film should be seen by more people then those dogged enough to search it out since despite the tragedy it could be someone's ray of hope out of the darkness.


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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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