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The Punk Singer (2013)

tomatometer

83

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 6

It verges on hagiography, but given the deeply compelling nature of its subject's story, The Punk Singer can be forgiven its lack of objectivity.

93

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 1

It verges on hagiography, but given the deeply compelling nature of its subject's story, The Punk Singer can be forgiven its lack of objectivity.

audience

80

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 1,706

My Rating

Movie Info

Lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill and dance-punk trio Le Tigre, Hanna rose to national attention as the reluctant but never shy voice of the Riot Grrrl movement of the '90s. She became one of the most famously outspoken feminist icons for a new generation of women and a cultural lightning rod. Her critics wished she would just shut up, and her fans hoped she never would. So in 2005, when Hanna stopped shouting, many wondered why. Through 20 years of archival footage and interviews with

Mar 25, 2014

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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (6)

It's the music, though, including a wealth of galvanic performance footage from the Bikinis, particularly, that really makes this worth seeing. It's killer stuff indeed.

December 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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The way Hanna burst onto the scene is just as interesting as how she faded from it.

December 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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The movie succeeds as a punk chronicle by focusing on a true believer who was lionized by many but who turned out to be only human.

December 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"The Punk Singer" is a revealing look at Hanna's life, who throughout the film is willing to speak out about her struggles and triumphs in an open and honest way.

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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Where are the riot-grrrls of today? Take your daughters to the movie, then ask them.

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At its best, The Punk Singer tells the story of one pivotal life in a whole movement.

November 28, 2013 Full Review Source: NPR
NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Leaves you wishing there were more musicians of any sex who embrace rock's potency for smashing cultural boundaries with such power and personality as this one did in her fearless prime.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: The List
The List

The Punk Singer takes us back to the era when manifestos were spread in underground fanzines.

March 6, 2014 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

Anderson's movie, like Hanna's music, is raw and propulsive, anti-indifferent.

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Finally giving Hanna the proper due she deserves, the solid, well-calibrated, leanly composed...and highly enjoyable The Punk Singer brings dimension & real shape to a band, era and scene that is often compartmentalized into one or two categories.

December 13, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

A more fawning than illuminating documentary about the Bikini Kill and riot grrrl movement co-founder.

December 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

It is not the most subtly layered documentary I've ever seen, but these days it's no longer verboten to take a stance in docs. And there is so much to be admired about Hanna.

December 13, 2013 Full Review Source: RogerEbert.com
RogerEbert.com

Limited assessment, unbridled voice.

December 12, 2013 Full Review Source: RedEye
RedEye

The contradiction between status-quo film style and punk-rock subject never comes close to being resolved, but then Hanna herself is a bundle of contradictions.

December 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

...tracks the trajectory of Kathleen Hanna, the All-American Riot Grrrl who, after fronting the feminist punk band Bikini Kill and the feminist pop band Le Tigre, seemingly dropped out of sight in 2005

December 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

If 'riot grrl' founder Kathleen Hanna weren't married to Beastie Boy Adam 'Ad-Rock' Horovitz, I doubt a fawning, unobjective documentary like 'The Punk Singer' would even exist.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

The Punk Singer (and the formation of the Julie Ruin) offers a welcome return to, if not the fray, then certainly the front - where, as every rebel girl worth her combat boots knows, girls belong.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

The Punk Singer shows you that even the toughest, most heroic artists sometimes need a break, but the battle is always worth getting up and fighting again.

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Austin American-Statesman
Austin American-Statesman

Director Sini Anderson compiles interviews with Hanna and her husband, Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, as well as archival footage, into an admiring portrait of a sometimes combative figure.

December 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

The Punk Singer is assembled well, moving efficiently through the most important pieces of Hanna's biography...while Hanna and her friends explain the significance.

December 2, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

Even if you don't enjoy the music, it will be hard not to come away from this celebratory work without admiration for a woman who keeps climbing back, a creative force to be reckoned with.

November 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Punk Singer

'The Punk Singer'. Kathleen Hanna, what an important and powerful voice! A "force" indeed. Thank you for bringing her life, struggles and achievements to the screen, Sini Anderson.
March 16, 2013
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Foreign Titles

  • The Punk Singer: A Film about Kathleen Hanna (DE)
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