Written and directed by the Oscar nominated Amy J. Berg, Little Girl Blue is a fantastic, fiercely informative documentary on the life of the late influential blues/rock singer Janis Joplin. Most folks probably already know part of the story of the small town Texas girl who skyrocketed to fame in the late '60s but just as quickly burned out due to the excesses of drugs & alcohol just a few short years later, but Little Girl Blue tells the complete story of the insecurity, the loneliness, and the talent that was the basis of her life. With a wealth of interview segments from those who were close to her, including family, friends, former lovers, bandmates, and management, you get a well rounded picture of who Janis Joplin really was, and the enormity of her tragic death at such a young age. Narration is provided by Cat Power, who ironically, sounds a lot like the late singer.
For those that like vintage live concert clips, there are plenty of them here, including snippets from performances at Monterey, Woodstock, Toronto, The Dick Cavett Show, and more, as well as lots of 'in the studio' footage with Big Brother and the Holding Company. The many conversations and interviews with Joplin herself show a charming yet somewhat fragile woman, with the famous high school reunion clip especially revealing as it uncovers her pain & insecurity to the media who were there for that event. At 105 minutes, Little Girl Blue flies by, just like the brief yet troubled life of the singer, and while the director does dive into her storied drug abuse, complete with commentary from those who loved her and were deeply concerned, it's really more about the music and her impact that is the focus here. Surviving members of Big Brother and the Holding Company provide for some poignant thoughts on the late singer, as does The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and many more people who were within her inner circle.
I originally saw this film on an airplane not long ago coming back from a trip out to California (oddly enough, from San Francisco, the place that Joplin initially rose to fame), and was just as riveted during the second viewing here with this DVD. Included are plenty of deleted and extended scenes, making for an all around great package. If you are at all interested in the life of Janis Joplin, or late '60s music, make sure to pick up a copy of this film on DVD or Blu-ray.
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