Milwaukee Film Festival Review: “Billie”

We’re reviewing films you can check out at the Milwaukee Film Festival.


In the 70s, journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl began researching a bio of Billie Holiday but died under mysterious circumstances before the book was finished.

This documentary uses the audio tapes of Kuehl’s interviews with Holiday’s friends and fellow musicians, and the intimate details they share reveal Holiday’s darker, self-destructive impulses. 



As Kuehl delved deeper into Holiday’s life, she started exploring some dark impulses of her own. Director James Erskine intertwines Kuehl’s story with Holiday’s, leaving a viewer with the feeling that she is witnessing a double tragedy. 

Well-chosen footage of Holiday singing reminds us of what was lost when she died in 1959. 



Editor-in-chief Carole Nicksin has worked in publishing for over 20 years. Prior to joining the staff of Milwaukee Magazine, she was the style director at All You, a Time Inc. publication. She also served as decorating editor at Home magazine. Carole has written for the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, InStyle and numerous other publications.