Nothing Compares by Kathryn Ferguson [8/10]

Nothing Compares” skilfully unfolds the now-forgotten rapid rise and cataclysmic fall of SinĂ©ad O’Connor, an elfin songstress of astonishing ethereal vocals and direct lyrics. When I say “cataclsymic fall,” I risk being imprecise. In 1992, at the height of her stadium fame, she directly addressed no-go areas in two concerts, firstly barring the American national anthem and then ripping up a photo of the Pope on live TV. I recall those moments vividly but even I missed just how much vitriol and hatred spewed forth. As a singer-songwriter and performer, she kept up a long career, but her mainstream fame was nixed in what felt like one fateful moment. The director/co-writer immerses the viewer in the turbulent late 80s and early 90s in Ireland/UK/USA, and masterfully chronicles her appearance out of nowhere as a seemingly waifish wunderkind who connected with youth. Contemporary footage, voiceovers from associates and family, and background imagery assemble a thrilling tale, with an added bonus of throaty current commentary by the artist herself. The twin show climaxes are stunning. A brilliant portrait of courage against injustice, Nothing Compares is highly recommended.

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