I Shot Andy Warhol

Director: Mary Harron
Screenwriters: Mary Harron, Daniel Minahan


In this era of history biopics that endlessly revive British literary icons or ruling classes, it’s a treat to find a film looking at recent U.S. history: the legacy of the sixties and its bohemian underbelly. In an era of postfeminism, it’s thrilling to find a film that reconsiders the life of the Joan of Arc of American prefeminism, Valerie Solanas, founder, theorist, and sole member of SCUM, the Society for Cutting Up Men. Today, she’s more famous for a single sentence (and the act that preceded it): “I shot Andy Warhol,” as spoken to a Times Square traffic cop to whom she turned herself in.

Lili Taylor burns up the screen with the intensity of her Solanas performance, conveying the mad brilliance and tragic dimension of this magnetic personality, challenging and beguiling us into the not-so-long-lost world of The Factory, its coterie, and those it excluded. Documentarian Mary Harron cut her teeth on past views of the Warhol scene: the script, cowritten with Dan Minahan, captures the spirit of license and invention that pervaded the era, and the ups and downs (drugs included). The wonders are legion. See the legendary Gerard Melanga snake-dance! Watch Valerie’s play, Up Your Ass, performed by her drag-queen friends at Nedick’s restaurant! See Warhol preside once again, the voyeuristic crown prince of the underworld who never quite lost his altar-boy airs.

It’s eminently satisfying to have the whole Warhol crew brought back to life, so to speak, and to witness a new generation of actors getting it right. Produced by the same Kalin-Vachon team that brought Go Fish and Swoon to Park City, I Shot Andy Warhol etches a new version of history into the consciousness of its viewers and makes us care, furiously, about Valerie, a genius ahead of her time, a prophet felled by the deadly weight of her own truths.

— B. Ruby Rich

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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