Who doesn’t remember that moment on SNL when Sinéad O’Connor quoted Bob Marley right before ripping a photo of the Pope to shreds or her cover of Prince’s hit song Nothing Compares 2 U?
Since the beginning of her career, Sinéad O’Connor has used her powerful voice to challenge the narratives she was surrounded by while growing up in predominantly Roman Catholic Ireland. O’Connor’s unflinching refusal to conform means that she has often been patronized and unfairly dismissed as an attention-seeking pop star.
In her debut feature, Kathryn Ferguson navigates O’Connor’s rocky path to stardom with great clarity. The director makes a conscious choice to focus on the late 1980s and early 1990s, when O’Connor was establishing herself as an artist while fighting an onslaught of misogyny and prejudice in the male-dominated music industry and beyond. A time when women in Ireland were not allowed to be angry, be independent or make a living separate and apart from their male counterparts.
What intrigued me was the fact that not only was she a champion of women of women’s rights, thee artist was very outspoken about race schisms of Black people in England by stating, “…until the color of a man’s skin is insignifcant as the color of his eyes…I say war.” When artist like Bob Dylan made music opposing hierarchy all the time – the masses embraced him. Yet my girl Sinéad was disrespected for the sheer fact she was the wrong gender.
Through the creative use of archival footage, as well as exclusive interviews, Nothing Compares challenges the image of O’Connor perpetuated by the media over the years. It’s an emotional portrayal of a thoughtful artist who has always cared about the bigger picture, and whose antiestablishment bravery and dedication to speaking truth to power would inspire generations to come.
Having made its debut during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, the doc has been acquired by Showtime.