(director/writer: Kathryn Ferguson; screenwriters: Michael Mallie/Eleanor Emptage; cinematographer: Luke Jacobs; editor: Mick Mahon; music: Irene & Linda Buckley; cast: Sinéad O’Connor; Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Michael Mallie/Eleanor Emptage: Tara Films; 2022)

“It’s an honest film that does great by her as an artist and shows her as an even greater person.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A moving tribute documentary on the life of the Grammy-Award winning, resolute in her convictions about social justice issues, never retreating from controversy and known for keeping her Catholic faith tied to her strong beliefs. The brave and often misunderstood Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor, who is known by many Americans for her 1992 protest against child abuse, by ripping up a photo of the Pope on SNL for his failure to act.

It’s directed and written in a sympathetic way in her debut film by the Belfast-born Kathryn Ferguson.

The far-reaching documentary is filled with archival footage, recreations and interviews with the singer herself, Hanna, Peaches, and Public Enemy’s Chuck D. It acts as a companion piece to O’Connor’s 2021 memoir Rememberings.

It tells of the years from O’Connor’s debut 1987 album The Lion and The Cobra, her successful adaptation of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and her long career as a singer and a fighter for causes. It tells her story from her POV, from her childhood of abuse to the abuse she received by the media for speaking out about what was on her mind. The Catholic Church and many other powerful institutions are scrutinized by her for their unfair practices and unwillingness to change.

It’s an honest film that does great by her as an artist and shows her as an even greater person.

Even in this time of sorrow for her, after recently losing her teen son, the singer with the shaved head still shines as a real person.

Nothing Compares screened at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. 

REVIEWED ON 2/11/2022  GRADE: B+