Janis: Little Girl Blue

Musician Cat Power narrates this documentary on Janis Joplin's evolution into a star from letters that Joplin wrote over the years to her friends, family, and collaborators.


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  • ★★★★ review by michelle on Letterboxd

    My mom looks eerily similar to Janis Joplin...she was also in a rock band in the 80s and she loves Janis. ...where do I submit conspiracy theories?

  • ★★★★ review by RetroHound on Letterboxd

    The most amazing concert ever caught on film is Janis with Big Brother and the Holding Company at the Monterey Pop Festival. Holy cow, when she sings Ball and Chain, I get teary-eyed every time.

    This doc really focuses on her pain. Interviews with lots of people who knew her and worked with her, as well as some family are included.

    A girl with so much emotional baggage that she never could feel comfortable alone had so much more to offer. As they point out in this doc, Paul Rothchild really was teaching her how to become a better singer, if you can believe it. She had many more great albums and songs that we won't get to hear.

    I know Janis Joplin isn't for everyone, my wife can't stand to listen to her, but anytime Janis comes on, the volume goes up.

  • ★★★½ review by Ryster on Letterboxd

    Here's the thing with Janis: Little Girl Blue, it's a great documentary about Janis Joplin's life that will entertain both fans and people that may not know a lot about her. I fall into the latter group. I didn't grow up listening to her style of music and only ever knew of her by name and reputation, but that's why I wanted to see this documentary. I wanted to know more about Joplin and I wanted to see if maybe it would turn me into a fan. Well I thought it did a pretty good job. It's not as great as some other documentaries that came out in 2015 but it tells it's story very well and offers some insightful and personal stories and thoughts from Joplin herself through her letters that will surely satisfy long-time fans. That's what makes this documentary better than a whole lot of others, it may be a talking heads type documentary by PBS but it's personal and tells the story as it is. There's also a lot of (what I thought was excellent) archive footage of concerts and interviews with Joplin.

    Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1943. She lead a difficult childhood, she was bullied a lot and didn't fit in. She didn't let that get the better of her though and accepted it and became the person that we all know. She rose to fame as a member of Big Brother and the Holding Company before becoming a solo artist with backing groups, The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band. At the age of 27 Joplin died but she was never forgotten as she is an important icon in the music industry that broke the mold.

    Janis Joplin has a very sad story. Wether it be the bullying that she suffered in her childhood or her tragic death at the young age of 27, among other things. These things could've been handled in a way that they didn't strike the audience but that didn't happen. The audience gets hit hard a lot of times throughout and it's always told in a respectful way. It doesn't try to make the audience sad just because it can, it tells the story as it is. I thought Amy Berg did a great job with this documentary. I certainly know more about Janis Joplin than I did before seeing this. The use of letters and notes by Joplin were fantastic and really shows you who she was. All she wanted was to be happy and that's what singing made her, happy. The archive footage used is great. I didn't care that they were grainy and old but I know some people may not like that. I really liked seeing her perform though in the selected footage. I don't like the idea that every documentary about a singer is going to be compared to the incredible Amy but that's what is going to happen. Is it as good as Amy? Sadly no but don't let that stop you from watching this because it's well worth your time. Janis: Little Girl Blue is an entertaining and personal look into the life of Janis Joplin. It may just be the best documentary about Joplin. It features incredible concert and interview footage and shows the real Janis Joplin.

  • ★★★★★ review by Bethany on Letterboxd

    Watching this documentary made me realise there's a lot of untapped potential for a janis biopic. There was so much pain and joy in her life, as well as a very unique and engaging narrative, which would translate very well into a biographic film with actors. Maybe do that instead of having 592797296 more Beatles biopics?????

    (or at least, if you insist on a Beatles biopic, do a George Harrison one, who I promise you was a hundred times more interesting than John Lennon ever was, or will ever be)

  • ★★★★ review by essentriics on Letterboxd

    One talented and beautiful soul of a woman in the history of music ✨🌙💫

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