Elaine Stritch holds no punches in Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me is a documentary film that chronicles the day-to-day life of the gracefully aging actress Elaine Stritch. Elaine Stritch may have been best known for her roles on Broadway, but her recent recurring roles on television sitcoms may be what younger audiences will remember her for. Ever the performer, Elaine talks to the camera about . . . well, about everything. The film starts with a question, “So, Elaine, at eighty-six, how do you feel about where you are in your life?” Elaine’s answer is a testament to her life and her career. She holds no punches throughout the film. She tells it like it is. She holds true to her character, and never lets her audience down.
Shot on the streets of New York City, Elaine and the busy city streets seem to be a perfect match. Along the way, we are greeted by long-time fans as they engage with Elaine. The cameras follow her everywhere they can from her favorite coffee shop to her room at the Carlyle Hotel, to a bed and breakfast in the East Hamptons, to the hospital, to her childhood home in Birmingham, Mich., and back to her room at the Carlyle. Allowing the audience to experience every aspect of her life.
Along the way, she tells us stories. Those who have seen her one-woman stage performances, know that she is a performer who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Her stories connect her to her audience, and having a camera between her and her audience seems to make no difference. The connection she creates on screen is as powerful as it is in the theater. It creates an atmosphere where time itself seems to be in the hands of Elaine. She draws us in and makes us feel as comfortable in our own skin as she is in hers. Truth becomes the platform for trust, and from the first moments of the documentary to the last, we trust this woman with our lives even if it is only for 120 minutes, and she trusts us with hers.
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me is rounded off with interviews from co-stars, directors, her personal music director, and friends. They tell us bits about their experiences with Elaine, but in the end while adding minute details into the life and career of Elaine Stritch, they do not carry the film, and it was a wise decision on behalf of the documentarians to not let these interviews be the focal point of the film.
What makes this documentary the most memorable, is Elaine herself. As she did on stage, she tells the truth, she lets us see and experience her life, she wins us over with her smile, and she pulls us in with her charm. At just over two hours, this documentary makes you feel as though you are out to lunch with a friend. Time passes quickly, and in the end, you wish you had just a few more minutes to spend with the tour de force that is and was Elaine Stritch.