Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (2014)



Critic Consensus: Brutally honest and utterly compelling, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me offers a riveting, vanity-free portrait of its legendary subject while offering a few essential truths about the human condition.

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Movie Info

Now in her late 80s, Broadway legend Elaine Stritch remains as ferociously funny as ever. In this bold, hilarious and poignant portrait, the uncompromising Tony and Emmy Award-winner is revealed both on and off stage. Candid reflections about her life are punctuated with words from friends (including James Gandolfini, Tina Fey, John Turturro, Hal Prince, George C. Wolfe, Nathan Lane and Cherry Jones) and archival footage that showcases some of the great moments from her career. Whether dominating the stage, tormenting Alec Baldwin on the set of 30 Rock, or sharing her struggles with aging, diabetes and alcoholism, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me reaches beyond the icon's brassy exterior and reveals an inspiring portrait of a complex woman and artist. (c) IFC
Comedy , Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (33)

Chiemi Karasawa deserves all the credit in the world for the intimate and hilarious portrait that is Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, a sparkling cocktail of music and memoir. On the other hand, she didn't exactly have to drag her subject out of her shell.

Full Review… | January 5, 2015
Top Critic

[A] feisty portrait of the musical-theater legend.

Full Review… | January 5, 2015
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

"Elaine Stritch" is filled with bluster and memories, blunt outbursts and funny moments. But more importantly, it is filled with honesty.

Full Review… | April 3, 2014
Detroit News
Top Critic

Elaine Stritch's strength, along with the film's, comes from her honesty. She is herself, even when - maybe especially when - she knows she's being watched.

Full Review… | March 13, 2014
Washington Post
Top Critic

What a tough, difficult, talented old broad.

Full Review… | March 13, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Really, the experience of "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" is the experience of being in Stritch's company for 80 minutes, and that's fine. Still I doubt anyone will walk out of this film wishing it were 10 minutes longer.

Full Review… | March 13, 2014
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

"Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" captures the crass, hard-working personality of Broadway actress Elaine Stritch. The documentary is more of a broad reflection of Stritch's career than a chapter-by-chapter biography. It is also very honest as it explores everything from her glory days on the stage to her hospitalization from diabetes. Whether you are a Broadway fan or not, you need to see this in order to appreciate one of theater's most eccentric personalities. The format of the documentary follows the elder Stritch as she prepares a one-woman stage show. The candid footage is priceless as she interacts with celebrities (mostly from the show "30 Rock"), charms audiences, and reflects on her career. This priceless footage also shows another side of things as her frustration in rehearsal leads to cursing and her honest words about her problems with alcohol. When the performance finally arrives, it is pure magic to see her in her element and to see how the audience simply loves her. Elaine Stritch passed away shortly after this documentary was released in 2014 but her legacy lives on through this truthful look at her life.

Jonny Priano
Jonny Priano

Pretty decent movie. Very inspiring that she kept going until the very end. But, I thought Elaine was annoying and grumpy the whole movie.

Dorianator Fournier
Dorianator Fournier

There are a lot of obvious and superficial similarities between Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me and, from a few years ago, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. Both follow older women with years of experience in show business as they struggle to keep up with what the demands of their careers. They both have "name-colon-phrase" titles. And both are terrific. At the heart of these films, though, are two very different driving forces and, ultimately, two very different women. Rivers in A Piece of Work was open about the idea that she can't stop performing without risking irrelevance. This led to some very prickly moments, but one couldn't help but wonder if she'd be even more difficult if she slowed down. That film's thesis was rather clear from the moment it began, but Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me is a little tougher to pin down-at least for a while. Early on, Stritch (who passed away five months after this film was released) remarks that she doesn't like show business because there's too much dishonest people-pleasing. That's an ongoing theme throughout the film-Stritch also comments on the outstanding relationship she maintains with her musical director of 13 years, Rob Bowman, who tells it like it is. But this idea seems to really clash with the entire notion of a film crew chronicling one person's life. Without anything else, this documentary feels aimless and contradictory. Thankfully, there's a lot more to Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, but its most resonant material doesn't make itself apparent until Stritch's health really shows signs of decline. The first hint we get at Stritch's diabetes is when she's conversing on the set of 30 Rock with fellow diabetic Tracy Morgan. Of course, Stritch's biggest fans probably know about the challenges she's faced, but most will be totally unprepared for the physical vulnerability on display over this film's 80 minutes. Granted, Stritch is in her late 80s, but seeing her lose her speech, struggle to walk, and talk about how she feels death knocking on her door is emotionally tough. Stritch needs help remembering her lyrics and getting on and off stage, and before the film ends, she remarks that she thinks its time for her to get out of New York City (something she does a couple months before passing away). So all while we reminisce with Stritch about her glory days and laugh about her brashness and individuality, we're well aware that her next curtain call could be her last. In other words, while it's disguised as an amusing show biz doc, the film is a poignant reminder that everything has an expiration date, and there's no doubt that message hits home harder for those viewing the film in the wake of Stritch's passing than those who took it in while Elaine was still with us. But for everyone-whether you knew Stritch from her broadway days, 30 Rock, or just this movie-it's great that we have Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me to carry on the legacy of this truly one-of-a-kind lady. http://www.johnlikesmovies.com/elaine-stritch-documentary-review/

John Gilpatrick
John Gilpatrick

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