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Beltin’ Sondheim at 86

A portrait of a Broadway legend in Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

March 25, 2014, 12:00 am

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me is fine, but won’t be of much interest to those who don’t already love her or love Broadway musicals. She comes across as difficult, and many of her co-stars, including Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock, attest to that. But that’s the price one pays when working with a big personality that has earned a place in showbiz history.

What’s more interesting than watching Stritch and her music director Rob Bowman put together a Stephen Sondheim-themed tour is watching Stritch continue to struggle with alcoholism and diabetes. She takes two trips to the hospital during the course of Shoot Me—the movie seems to cover two years, 2010 and 2011—and there are moments when aging, as Stritch describes it, gets very real. (If you don’t understand what exactly diabetes can do to the body, there are several moments in the movie that will make it painfully clear.) 

Through it all Stritch is the embodiment of humor, tough love and resilience. It’s also pretty funny to watch celebrities such as James Gandolfini (to whom the movie is dedicated) and John Turturro recalling cringe-worthy things Stritch has said to them over the years. Ya gotta love her.

Directed by Chiemi Karasawa
The Screen
81 min.


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