Amy J. Berg (Deliver Us From Evil) profiles blues-rock icon Janis Joplin in this evenhanded and extensively researched documentary. Abundant archival footage, interviews, and previously undisclosed letters (sweetly voiced by indie-rock musician Cat Power) dive into Joplin's deep well of insecurity and her unquenchable desire to love and be loved. Though sluggish in the middle section, the film is nonetheless effective in illustrating how a star as incendiary as Joplin could dim and ultimately die in the spotlight; one acute example is a newspaper clipping from her personal collection that describes her songs as "raw and desperate mating calls"—a backhanded compliment, like so many directed toward her music and physical appearance, that still smarts. "She loved everybody," remarks a friend in the denouement. "That was the problem." With Dick Cavett and Kris Kristofferson.
Director: Amy Berg
Writer: Amy Berg
Producer: Alex Gibney, Amy Berg, Jeffrey Jampol, Katherine LeBlond, Michael Kantor, Susan Lacy, Noah Haeussner, Stacey Offman and Michael Raimondi
Cast: Chan Marshall