Janis, Little Girl Blue – (2016)

by | May 22, 2016 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

An excellent documentary on the life of the loud singer.

Janis, Little Girl Blue – (2016)

Cast: Janis Joplin, narrated by musician Cat Power, Clive Davis, Peter Albin
Director: Amy J. Berg
Studio: Filmrise/ MVD Visual MVDE 8304D (5/06/16)
Video: Mostly for 9:16 screens, color
Audio: English DD 2.0
Subtitles: English
Extras: Deleted & extended scenes, Big Brother Singing Acapella, The Avalon vs. The Fillmore, Influences, Walk of Fame Ceremony on Hollywood sidewalk
Length: 105 min.
Rating: ****

A fine documentary showing Joplin’s evolution into a big star, using letters and photos that she sent over the years to friends, family and collaborators. This make a fine pairing with Pennebaker’s films of Joplin at Monterey Pop and shows here as a unique talent, ahead of her time and trying to define herself rather than being defined by others. The horrible time she had in school in Texas undoubtedly shaped a whole cringe-worthy life.

When she came to San Francisco and joined Big Brother and the Holding Company she had the opportunity to showcase her big voice and gave her heart and soul to a song. She became addicted to alcohol and drugs, met a lover in Brazil but he couldn’t take the heroin addiction and left. She attempted to unsuccessfully kick the habit.

The talking heads fit in beautifully in this documentary, unlike in some, and the photography is excellent, though many poor early images are used. The few performance excerpts give a wonderful feeling of Joplin performing in person.

—John Sunier

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