I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)

i shot andy warhol poster 1996 movie lili taylor
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Taylor's Valerie Solanas

Story feels unbalanced

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:   I Shot Andy Warhol

Studio:   BBC Arena

Genre(s):   Drama

Release Date(s):   May 1, 1996

MPAA Rating:   R

i shot andy warhol valerie solanas screentest lili taylor

I will be a part of Warhol’s Factory!!!

Valerie Solanas (Lili Taylor) has shot Andy Warhol (Jared Harris).  She has her reasons and declares that her SCUM Manifesto holds the key.  As the police try to unravel Valerie’s actions, the truth about Valerie, her relationship with Andy, and what led her to attack the artist are revealed!

Directed by Mary Harron, I Shot Andy Warhol is a drama revealing the events leading up to the shooting of Andy Warhol by Valerie Solanas on June 3, 1968.  The film started as a documentary by the BBC and was based on The Letters and Diaries of Candy Darling, 1992 by Jeremiah Newton.  The movie was met with mixed reactions but positive reviews for Lili Taylor’s performance.

In the mid-1990s, independent films were booming.  With the internet starting to grow, you started to hear more and more about these smaller films.  I had an interest in Warhol and liked independent films so it seemed like I Shot Andy Warhol was a good match…but it wasn’t perfect.

i shot andy warhol valerie solanas ili taylor jared harris relationship

Solanas = No Filter
Warhol = All Filter

The movie is a movie that grows on you.  The first time I watched it, I was so-so on it.  The story is slow and progresses slowly.  It isn’t a biography of Warhol or Solanas and is mostly the story of what led to the shooting with dips into Solanas’ past through conversations and a few flashback scenes.  I don’t know that a true biopic would have worked here or if this was the best format, but I can see a “true-crime” documentary about the events working possibly better than the movie if done right.

What saves the movie is Lili Taylor who really gives it all in the performance.  She plays Solanas as almost a manic persona who rages from depressed to high energy at the flip of a switch.  Abused and broken, the character is rather interesting and Taylor isn’t afraid to be labeled as “horrendous monstrosity” by Warhol’s followers (which could scare away some actresses).  Warhol is played by Jared Harris and Stephen Dorff plays the transgender Candy Darling.  Martha Plimpton is Taylor’s friend Stevie and other actors appearing include Michael Imperioli, Justin Theroux, Jill Hennessy, and Tahnee Welch among others…but Taylor is really steering this boat.

i shot andy warhol shooting valerie solanas mario amaya lili taylor jared harris

If the movie really wanted to be edgy and independent, it should have been called I Shot Mario Amaya (the other victim in the shooting)

The movie dips into Warhol’s look a little visually, but it could have done for even more stylizations.  I like the Factory stuff of the film and wish it had played it up more.  Solanas was a hanger on and not really part of Warhol’s production company so it might not have been realistic to include her more, but scenes between Warhol and Solanas are the better scenes in the movie since Warhol was such an enigmatic character.

I Shot Andy Warhol almost works.  It has its moments and rather strong performances, but it sometimes feels like it needs an extra push…possibly in the script department.  It is a tough story to tell since it really is about two people intersecting (tragically), but focusing primarily on Solanas leaves the movie in a strange limbo where it feels like it doesn’t always know what to do next.  Solanas is a tragic character who could have been extremely unlikable, but I Shot Andy Warhol goes to great lengths to try to make her sympathetic and “real”…something Warhol always played with in his art.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by

Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn’t afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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