Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Milwaukee Film Festival 2013: Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

I will have to admit I didn't know much about Elaine Stritch before hand.  All I knew of her was she played Alec Baldwin's mom on 30 Rock which turns out is just a small blip in her storied career.

The documentary follows the 87 year old through the highs and lows of what it means to be an aging performer.  There is archival footage of her past to give those of us who know little about her career at little background but the majority of the film is a candid look at her life now.  From struggles with alcoholism and diabetes to the joys of performing on stage.

What made this movie truly great was the openness and unfiltered access we get to her.  The film does not shy away from showing the non glamorous side.  We see her as she gets frustrated with forgetting song lyrics and as she becomes confused when her blood sugar drops.  The most touching real moment in the movie is when we see her being discharged from the hospital after being there a few days for her diabetes. But then we also get to see her talking and hanging out with other celebrities like Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, and John Turturro. Elaine is blunt and calls it like she sees it and creates some funny moments.  One of the sadder moments was when she was hanging out with the late James Gandolfini.  He seemed to have such great admiration for her and it is sad that he is no longer with us.

Overall: 5 out of 5.  It feels refreshing to see a movie about a celebrity as raw and unfiltered as this.  It was great to have Elaine at the film and do a Q&A afterward.  She was exactly how you would expect her to be, gracious and funny.

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