Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death (2021)

100% – Critics

Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death Storyline

A tribute to one of Britain’s biggest TV stars, telling the story of Caroline Flack’s life.

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Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death Movie Reviews

Didn’t know her, glad to have seen this..

I had no clue who Caroline Flack was, or what had happened to her. But I’m very happy to have watched this. It reminded me a lot of the Amy documentary.

People and media can be cruel. It is important that they understand the ramifications of their actions. This documentary is for everyone to learn from before they judge (explicitly). It’s OK to not like someone, but you wouldn’t tell your coworker (or entire office) that you don’t like them right? Why wouldn’t you have the same grace when it concerns someone in the public?

I hope we all learn from this.

I wish the family and friends a lot of strength coping with this great loss.

Sad but insightful documentary of a life that took a wrong turn

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Caroline Flack rose to fame presenting The Xtra Factor, a spin off series on ITV2 of ITV’s The X Factor, with co host Olly Murs, and the pair eventually took over from Dermot O’ Leary hosting the main X Factor show on ITV, only to get dropped when ratings plummeted when they started. On top of this, Flack was subjected to a vicious online hate campaign, for what happened on the show and her tentative romance with the younger Harry Styles, lead singer of pop band One Direction. She had luck again, presenting the popular Love Island again on ITV2, but after a well publicised domestic abuse case with her boyfriend, she ended up taking her own life. A series of those closest to her, including Murs, here offer their thoughts about her and what drove her over the edge.

I must start this review with a rather blunt confession. I didn’t have much time for Caroline Flack in life. Rather harsh, but simply the truth. I didn’t have big feelings about her either way, but I just didn’t care much for the whole ‘reality TV’ world she embodied. It’s a sad indication of things that I’m reviewing something involving her now she’s died than anything she made while she was alive, especially considering, in hindsight, she definitely had talents, in singing and dancing. Of all the things in this sad documentary, you have to wonder why these brilliant talents didn’t hold her in the public eye, rather than the sad, tawdry world of ‘reality TV.’

Through the use of home video footage and stock TV film, we capture the world of an individual desperately yearning for acceptance and love, leading her to make some bad decisions in her personal life. Someone who was drawn to fame for this, but didn’t consider the downside that came with it. There are disturbing parallels with her persona and Robin Williams, someone putting on a wild, crazy front to cover up the cracks underneath it. It’s unsettling to see how someone can be so well known, and appear to have everything, and have so much hidden torment underneath. Yes, people commit suicide every day, and it’s the same for them, but if the case of a well known person can lead to wider discussion, then all the better. They say people achieve greatness in death. Flack may not be a modern day Da Vinci, but the added sadness of this tragic tale is that she had the talent to be, rather than the miserable, turgid ‘reality TV’ star she sadly was. ****

Sweet Caroline

Apart from when she won “Strictly Come Dancing” in 2014, I have never watched any TV programme on which the late Miss Flack appeared although my wife, with whom I watched this hour-long documentary, was / is a fan of the hit dating show “Love Island” which she presented. Nevertheless, I was intrigued to watch this sensitive tribute to her life and times which contained some surprising and of course sad admissions which went some way to perhaps explain why she took her own life a year ago in the wake of personal and professional setbacks she suffered at the time.

On the surface a beautiful and successful woman, it was evident that underneath she was insecure and prone to fits of depression. Although latterly more attributable to her unhappy personal life where she couldn’t seem to settle down for long to a stable personal relationship with any of the boy-friends she encountered, it was made clear that in fact she had been psychologically troubled since her childhood. Although obviously from a loving family, as we see from the moving testimony of her mother and surviving twin sister, we learn that of the two sisters, she was the “glass half-empty” one and had self-confidence issues which would continue to haunt her even as she entered show-biz. There, her career experienced the natural series of ups and downs, from the highs of “Strictly” success, co-hosting the “X Factor” appendix show with singer Olly Murs and finally her perfect-fit job as the presenter of runaway hit “Love Island”, to the lows of the failure of her and Murs elevation to presenting the main “X Factor” show and of course, losing the “Love Island” gig in the aftermath of the highly publicised argument she had with her then boy-friend which resulted in her arrest for assault, an incident which for days fed front-page news headlines in the tabloid press (example – “Caroline Whack!”) and made her fodder for comedians who probably now regret their cheap one-liners (step forward, or rather step back, Graham Norton).

Making frequent use of family home movies showing her with her sister as two ordinary, happy, innocent kids, invariably doing their party-pieces to camera, the picture is drawn of an emotionally needy young woman who was a loving daughter, sister and friend but who seemed to long for the stability of a lasting, loving relationship to anchor her life.

There were many touching moments in the programme, from the testimony of her various showbiz connections, including her agents and celebrity friends like Murs and fellow-presenter Dermot O’Leary but more particularly from those who knew her best, her mother and sister. What I really didn’t appreciate at all was the amount of sheer bile and vitriol she experienced on social media from online trolls, with which we’re told, she was unhealthily obsessed.

With notably no contributions from any of the many boy-friends who flitted in and out of her life, including the final one, with whom she had the fateful argument on the night which effectively ended her career (triggered by her finding a text from another woman on his mobile phone), the picture is painted of a troubled woman who, seeing her successful career apparently in ruins, her demise luridly splashed in the daily papers and living away from her family alone in her London flat, felt the need to tragically take her own life.

The programme makes a strong case for supporting those we know and love who suffer from mental illness and more indirectly indicts the lack of policing of on-line hate crime and that old staple, the sensationalist and invasive excess of the tabloid press. I may not have been a fan or known much in advance about Miss Flack’s life and times but was certainly moved by this well-handled tribute to her.