Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Major lesbian character
Short Take: On June 3, 1968, lesbian Valerie Solanas shot artist and pop culture icon Andy Warhol. This film is her story, with a look into Warhol’s circle in the late 1960s.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 1996
Duration: 103 min
Language: UK, USA/English
MPAA: R
Director: Mary Harron
Writer: Jeremiah Newton, Diane Tucker, Mary Harron, Daniel Minahan
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Jared Harris, Martha Plimpton, Jill Hennessy

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I Shot Andy WarholOn June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanas shot artist and pop culture icon Andy Warhol. (Although he survived, Andy never fully recovered.) This film is Valerie’s story and also includes a look into Warhol’s circle in the late 1960s.

Valerie (Lili Taylor, Julie Johnson) put herself through college and then moves to Greenwich Village, where she survives by panhandling and prostitution. By day she has sex with men for money, but in her personal life, she is a lesbian. At the same time, Valerie sells mimeographed copies of her ‘SCUM Manifesto’ on the street. SCUM stands for the Society for Cutting Up Men, a radical feminist guide to changing the world.

She has also written a semi-biographical play called ‘Up Your Ass,’ and when transsexual friend Candy (Stephen Dorff) becomes a member of the in crowd at The Factory, Warhol’s studio, she tags along. Warhol (Jared Harris) takes an interest in her and even gives her small parts as a dyke in two of his films.

Many in Warhol’s circle consider her a lunatic, although she thinks herself a revolutionary. Valerie insists that he produce her play and give her money, although he lost the manuscript long ago, and so the lunatic side of her calmly shoots him. ‘I have lots of reasons. Read my manifesto, and it will tell you who I am.’

Valerie was an odd person given to ranting, and this film is quite odd as well, as we follow the rhythms of her life. Lili Taylor’s performance stands out, and she received a Special Recognition Award at Sundance. Written and directed by Mary Harron, who has also directed for ‘The L Word.’ (AB)