Tribeca 2021 Film Festival Review: Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story

Written by Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde

60/100

Jackie Collins is one of those people I just wish I knew about sooner. Laura Fairrie’s Lady Boss tells the story of British author Jackie Collins. It’s an inside look into a phenom who, as described in the doc, “created the ethos of the 80s.” What I loved about this documentary is that we got to know Jackie Collins, in her own words, through a series of diary entries and scrapbooks she kept meticulously. This made it compelling, knowing that we’re understanding and experiencing Jackie the woman and not just Jackie the author. 

Jackie’s relationships, especially her sometimes tumultuous relationship with her sister, Hollywood actress Joan Collins(Dynasty) were a focal point of the documentary. Jackie often felt an inferiority complex because she also wanted to break into Hollywood like her sister Joan. But destiny had other plans for her. She took what she saw in Hollywood and fictionalized it into books that became best sellers. Throughout the documentary we get reminded that what she wrote and who she was were two different things. Jackie’s external persona and novels exuded strength. Internally, Jackie overcame personal turmoil including the death of her first husband by suicide.     

Encouraged by her second husband, Jackie published many successful books. Because she was a woman writing about sex she was criticized and ridiculed unlike many of her male counterparts. But Jackie remained unflappable. Not only was she an author, she was a discerning business woman who created an international name for herself. Jackie Collins opened the door for other female authors to write about whatever they wanted and put women front and center in their narratives. She would eventually sell over 500 million books worldwide and become one of the most highly paid authors in the United Kingdom. This documentary, and Jackie’s writing in particular, are about the female gaze. It put female sexuality front and center in a time that was wholly uncommon. Thank you Jackie Collins.  

Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story Trailer

Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story is currently streaming as part of the Tribeca 2021 Film Festival thru Tribeca at Home(available only in the USA). On June 27th it will play in it’s entirety on the CNN television channel.

You can follow Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde on LetterboxdTwitter, or Instagram and view more of what she’s up to here.

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