The Punk Singer


The Punk Singer

Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 65


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,425
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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 Hanna, as well as musicians like Kim Gordon, Joan Jett and Carrie Brownstein, THE PUNK SINGER provides a fascinating overview of her influential career, leading up to the much-anticipated launch of her new band, The Julie Ruin. (c) IFC Films

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Critic Reviews for The Punk Singer

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (20)

  • It is a love letter to Kathleen Hanna, to feminism, and to the fans, but it's also just a damn good movie.

    Jun 9, 2017 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

    Jenni Miller
    Top Critic
  • She's a real role model, and her mysterious withdrawal in 2005 - explained as due to undiagnosed Lyme disease - left a vacuum that's still conspicuously unfilled.

    May 22, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Steve Rose

    Top Critic
  • A rousing celebration of the creative and political life of outspoken Riot grrrl icon, Kathleen Hanna.

    May 22, 2014 | Rating: 5/5
  • 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.

    Dec 13, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Dec 13, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The way Hanna burst onto the scene is just as interesting as how she faded from it.

    Dec 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Punk Singer

  • May 05, 2014
    It's no wonder that Kathleen Hanna has an entire documentary focused around her. Between her turn as lead singer of the riot grrl punk band "Bikini Kill," being in the techno group "Le Tigre," and her solo act "Julie Ruin," she is basically the mother of feminist punk rock. Hanna is famous for her feminist zines and incendiary lyrics in her music, and for her take no prisoners attitude when it comes to her life, her music, and her art, Kathleen Hanna is the kind of woman little girls should look up to. Not only is she an amzing punk icon, but a feminist icon as well. The documentary looks at her biography, and what amazing things she accomplished, without the drug addled pretensions that fame always abides. It deals with women's issues and the scope of feminism in the nineties' scene. Best yet we get to see the person she now is, and hopefully the artist she is becoming yet again. The film has some really great interviews with Hanna herself as well as critics and admirers of Hanna's. It's just bewildering how amazing this woman is, and how poignant and gritty this doumentary is.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 26, 2014
    Great insight in to an important icon from the Riot Grrrrl movement, entertaining, informative and everything a rock doc should be.
    Jon H Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2013
    A charming bit of documentary on Kathleen Hanna and Bikini Kill, both of whom I had not encountered previously.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 16, 2013
    '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.
    c0up   Super Reviewer

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