The turbulent first five years of the career of Sinéad O'Connor are reframed through a feminist lens in Nothing Compares. Growing up in Ireland with an incredibly abusive mother, Sinéad O'Connor entered the world of music as a form of therapy. Despite shaving her head to rebel against being a musical commodity, Sinéad would end up becoming a huge success, particularly after the release of her 1990 album “I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got” and her hit cover of Prince's ”Nothing Compares 2 U.” However, Sinéad O'Connor‘s mainstream success would come crashing to a halt in 1992 when she tore up a photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live in protest of allegations of sexual assault within the Catholic Church, with her subsequently being booed off the stage at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary concert.
Everyone probably knows the rise and fall of Sinéad O'Connor and it is that period between 1987 and 1993 that director Kathryn Ferguson focuses upon in Nothing Compares. Save for a final performance scene, Nothing Compares consists entirely of archival footage, accompanied by voice-over interviews with Sinéad O'Connor and others. Viewed in a modern lens, the film shows how ahead of the curve Sinéad O'Connor was, whether it be her non-binary appearance or her activist and feminist views.
In a major irony Nothing Compares is somewhat marred by lack of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which had its use in the film declined by the Prince estate. However, Nothing Compares is still a fascinating look at Sinéad O'Connor‘s early career, particularly the contrast between the younger Sinéad and the much more hoarse and deep voiceover from her older self. Also, 30 years later, the highly misogynistic repsponce to the SNL incident is probably something we should now all be ashamed of.