The film was shown in theaters Friday, September 30th in New York and L.A. for an Oscar-qualifying run and releases theatrically in Ireland and the U.K. on Friday, October 7.
The movie chronicles a fraught childhood and a rapid musical development. “How could I possibly know what I want when I was only 21,” she asks in her song “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” After her worldwide breakthrough, she knew she didn’t want the United States national anthem played before her stateside shows, and that she wanted to shed light on sexual abuse in the Catholic church.
The reaction to these activist moves was vehement and often incredibly stupid and sexist, as nearly countless short clips of insults delivered by radio callers and celebrities (including Madonna and Joe Pesci) demonstrate. While her stardom was derailed, her music career continued, and the movie ends with a recent performance clip. (She announced this year that she was withdrawing from the music industry, however.)
At no point during the movie proper is it mentioned that O’Connor’s biggest hit, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” was composed by Prince, which is peculiar. At the movie’s end, a title card notes that Prince’s estate denied the filmmakers permission to use the song in the movie. This jarring instance of what looks like narrative grudge-holding notwithstanding, “Nothing Compares” is a worthwhile appreciation of the artist.
Running time: 1 hour 37 minutes
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