Films

Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015) Film Review

I’m a huge music fan and I grew up with posters of Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, The Who and Jimi Hendrix on my wall. I hoarded cd’s and vinyl’s, I made mix tapes, I bunked off school on at least two occasions for concert tickets. I started going to music festivals from the age of 14 and I kept going till I was 27. I was going for the music and not the scene, I managed to end up on MTV 2 on two separate occasions. I wanted to be a musician but always lacked the talent. Almost Famous is my favourite film ever, maybe it inspired me to write but my sister was my inspiration for what I began listening to. Every summer from when I was 13, she would be playing her greatest hits of the 60’s.  I think it could be safe to say as corny as this sounds, rock is in my blood, it’s something I have always loved and always will in many of its forms. It’s for this reason that when I had the chance to see the new documentary about Janis Joplin I really didn’t have a choice other than to sit down and watch.

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Janis Joplin is the ultimate example of every outsiders dream. She was someone who never really fit in her home town yet once she left, her personality and style allowed her to rise to the levels of cool that few could rival. Looking at her then, she never really fit in and she wouldn’t fit in now but she looks as cool now as she did then. She was always beyond the scene and had a ‘I don’t give a f*ck attitude’ that was magnetic and could easily draw you in. She wasn’t gorgeous but she was sexy, she couldn’t hit the high notes but she could sing. She was charming, funny and had a certain innocent quality about her that you could see in her smile, maybe it’s that innocence that caused her downward spiral but she was upfront and honest, which is rare in the record industry, she was and always will be Janis Joplin.

Janis: Little Girl Blue is a 2015 American documentary film directed by Amy J. Berg. It chronicles the life of this pioneering artist from her 1940’s childhood right up until her joining counter culture and eventually her death. Amy J Berg takes you on this beautiful and unexpected ride that you never see coming. You get to see perspectives from Janis’s family, band members, former lovers and friends. But it’s more than that, you get see archive footage, hear her songs, see long forgotten interviews and photographs that have never been seen before as well as exerts from her journal, letters she wrote and things she drew in her spare time.

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The film is emotionally powerful and for me it was a punch to the gut. It was tasteful,very respectful and it’s honest. I guess to quote an old poem, truth is beauty; I think Janis would have been proud of this film, even if it shows her at her lows. Seeing inside this artist’s heart and soul is just wonderful.

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The highlights for this film would be the interviews with her brother and sister, because Janis is more than a person now, she is an icon. The interviews with her family helps humanize her and let’s us see her for the person she was. I think the most humanizing interview was with a holiday romance turned boyfriend she had, though that is probably one of the most tragic parts of this tale. On the flip side the interviews with Dick Cavett and Kris Kristopherson humazing in their own way, seeing these other larger than life performers talk about her shows another wonderful side of her. After watching it when I hear her lyrics I don’t just think of cool out there chick, now I’m thinking about the insecure loner who felt everyone’s pain and was able to channel that into music everyone could understand.

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As music documentaries go this has to be one of my favourites and I am proud to say it led to me listening to I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama last night especially paying a little extra attention to her rendition of Little Girl Blue.

The film will be released on December 4 in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It will be released in Germany and Japan on 14 January 2016 and in the UK on 5 February 2016.

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If your a fan of this follow me on twitter – @DavidACromie

Categories: Films, Reviews

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