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Review: Shari & Lamb Chop. Your new role model is right here

  • Release year: 2023
  • Director: Lisa D’Apolito.
  • Producers: Lisa D’Apolito, Nicholas Ferrall, Cassidy Hartmann, Morris Ruskin and Douglas Warner.
  • Screenplay by: Lisa D’Apolito, Cassidy Hartmann and Andrea Lewis.
  • Cinematography by: Nick Bibbo and Anne Etheridge.
  • Music by: Miriam Cutler.

Synopsis: documentary about the performer Shari Lewis, from birth to death.

Shotgun Commentary: incredibly inspiring content, especially for women.

Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop. Source: Shari & Lamb Chop (Lisa D’Apolito, 2023). Courtesy of: Raindance Film Festival.

Review

Shari & Lamb Chop registers the life of Shari Lewis through filmed conversations, photographs and archival content, from her childhood until the filming of her final programme. The account of her life showcases a true role model for women and performers everywhere.

The star

Shari Lewis was a big superstar in the US, peaking in the 60s and 90s. Raised by incredibly supporting parents, she had the means to become a superstar. Resources that she matched with incredibly hard work in order to become a great entertainer. Her whole story is an example of resilience, intelligence, empathy and guts. Nevertheless, the peak of this narrative is definitely her wits, which she used to talk about very controversial themes at a time when women were not allowed to talk about virtually anything of substance most of the time.

Her advocacy for progress and children’s education are but reflections of her beliefs, at the core of which is that kids are tomorrow’s adults, and if we want a bright future, we need to help kids be confident, and just as bright. She created this “world of tomorrow” in her shows, where kids of all races have fun discovering the world instead of worrying about their differences or the mistakes they make.

Maybe… too shiny?

Shari & Lamb Chop does an incredible job at presenting this inspiring figure in an upbeat and moving way. However, there is also some casual disguising of the negative parts of Lewis’ personality. Her daughter mentions that their personalities clashed and that Lewis needed all the attention, as much as her. These are parts of her personality that not mentioned at all during the rest of the documentary.

Other than inferring it from her career, the audience gets no information about the not-so-perfect parts of Shari’s life. Which makes you realise that the whole piece has a big pink cloud over it. Shari is severely overworked, her husband cheats on her, she has to go to smaller and smaller venues to stay relevant somehow, but none of this is shown as a big issue. Why? You’ll find the answers to this and lots of other questions surrounding Shari & Lamb Chop in my interview with Lisa D’Apolito!

Smart editing

The form of the piece is fantastic. The editing is quick and there are no slow or boring moments. Everything that is in the footage is relevant to tell Lewis’ story and, while there are emotional moments, there is no melodrama. As for the theme itself, many people in Europe, including yours truly, don’t know anything about Shari Lewis or what she did. This makes Shari & Lamb Chop a piece of entertainment that will help expand her legacy and inspire many female artists to break the barriers of their own art sphere and to find clever ways to bypass the patriarchal system that dominates the arts and, indeed, the world.

All in all, Shari & Lamb Chop is fun, educational, curious, and a big must-watch for anyone interested in documentaries, ventriloquism, the world of entertainment and the functioning of TV. Or for anyone in need of a positivity fix, really.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • Anything is possible if you work hard… and have money, or contacts, or both.
  • You can get away with anything if a puppet is saying it.
  • Still no women presidents in the US, just saying…
Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop. Source: Shari & Lamb Chop (Lisa D’Apolito, 2023).

What’s your take? Have you watched Shari & Lamb Chop? What do you think of her role on TV? Did you watch her shows when you were little? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles, check out the rest of my blog! 😀

2 replies on “Review: Shari & Lamb Chop. Your new role model is right here”

Shari and Lamb chop hold a special place in my heart. I watched them as a child and actually saw them in person once with my own son at Meadowbrook theatre in MI. 🙂

I’m so glad to hear from Shari fans! That must have been awesome, Ava! I’m sure you guys had a great time, Shari was a very special woman.

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