Tag Archives: Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand, Becoming An Icon

Barbra Streisand is a woman who needs no introduction. Movie stars were not generally cut from her mold but her talent was so sweeping and undeniable that it couldn’t help but be recognized.

Barbra Streisand, Becoming An Icon doesn’t delve deep into her background or her psyche. The only words we hear from her are recycled from previous interviews. But all stacked up together, the archival footage and rich performance history will be a delight to fans and a fantastic reminder of her incredible artistry.

But talent aside, Streisand was always cut from a different cloth. She was a proud w-barbra-is-the-best-012215-1425553757feminist and “uncompromisingly Jewish”, inspiring a generation of women and showing America her own brand of stardom. Unapologetically ambitious, aggressive, and outspoken, she started a new wave of female businesswomen in Hollywood, blazing her own path and doing it with style, elegance, and dignity.

This documentary offers to critique, no shade, no bombshells. It’s just a straight-up love letter to a woman who’s been earning it for 5 decades.

 

 

 

Barbra Streisand, Becoming An Icon screens as part of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. You can attend a screening May 10, 3:30pm at Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk 9, or make it a mother’s day event on Sunday May 13, 2:30pm at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
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A Star Is Born (1976)

John Norman Howard is 3 hours late to his own show. The 50K people spilling out of the stadium are restless, but they aren’t leaving. When he does arrive, they’re ready to forgive everything, but he’s not even sober enough to remember the words to his own songs.

Meanwhile, Esther Hoffman, an unknown songstress, is the “filling” in a trio regrettably called The Oreos, performing in a bar that serves warm beer or herbal tea. It’s not a great place, and it goes downhill when it’s terrorized by a drunken, sloppy, washed up rockstar. Intentionally or not, he’s incredibly disruptive, and Esther (Barbra Streisand) knows when a gig’s gone belly-up. Generously she leads John (Kris Kristofferson) out to safety.

MV5BMTQ5MzMyMjI0Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODk4NTUyNw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1544,1000_AL_This is where the numerous A Star Is Born remakes made their jump from acting to pop music. My Mom had this soundtrack on vinyl when I was a kid – she was still a kid herself when this came out. She though Kristofferson was a dish.

Anyway, though undiscovered, Esther is a pretty confident babe. It’s clearly a role written specifically for Babs, who shines her special light every moment she’s on screen, which means it’s hard to believe her as anything but The Voice. Although, to be fair, it’s even harder to believe her as a serious love interest – Streisand and Kristofferson do not have so much as a microwave lightbulb’s worth of heat between them. They often substitute cornball humour for passion, and that’s an awkward trade-off that grinds things to a halt.

Esther is mouthy; John Norman is irascible and intoxicated and is deathly afraid of buttoning his top 6 buttons. They’re not exactly a lovable pair, and god help us when the whole thing takes its time getting going. It feels like a cliche that he needs exactly her kind of saving, and yet there it is. Of course, when her star is shooting upward, he gets predictably petulant.

All this to say I’m not a big fan of the movie. I guess you’re in it for the music or you’re not in it at all. Not to worry though, if you don’t like this one, there are a half a dozen other iterations to try!