Conclusion: In the One Direction Documentary This is Us , fans are briefly introduced to the band's backup singers and musicians, a nice touch and a nod towards their importance to the greater whole. Yet that's just a taste of the truth behind the spotlight. 20 Feet from Stardom explores the people behind the stars and their contributions to the musical scene, but more importantly it examines their lives, the complexities of those lives, the dreams fulfilled, and the dreams never...
Excerpt: Everyone focuses their attention on the lead singer when attending a concert. People pay to see superstars like Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, and Stevie Wonder in concert, rarely giving much thought to the critical role backing vocalists play on both records and live performances. Director Morgan Neville has constructed a delightful documentary exploring the world of Rock’s unsung heroes: The backup singers.
Conclusion: Twenty Feet from Stardom is an enjoyable feature-length celebration of backup singers and their calling. Its feel-good nature may hurt its Oscar chances, but makes it a more pleasant viewing than most of the more serious contenders.
Excerpt: In telling the stories of several prolific backup singers, Twenty Feet from Stardom not only shines a spotlight on the people, mostly women, responsible for some of the most memorable moments in 20th-century music, it also touches on the civil rights movement, the birth of rock n' roll, the place that blues and gospel have within rock, and the record industry's mistreatment of women.
Conclusion: '20 Feet from Stardom' is an enjoyable and ultimately emotional documentary that shines a spotlight on the world of background singers. Through their dreams, successes, and failures, the director offers a fitting examination of showbiz passion and a crowd pleasing celebration of musical talent. On the technical front, the disc's video transfer is good and the audio mix is fantastic, offering a great selection of songs.
Excerpt: Most people with any knowledge of rock music (or Martin Scorsese's movies) can summon The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" to mind. Powerful riffs, Mick Jagger, and a woman, belting out the memorable lyric, "it's just a shot away" at the top of her lungs. Merry Clayton generally got her work doing back-up vocals, and she's not alone: 20 Feet From Stardom interviews a whole group of singers who -- while they may not have been the stars -- provided crucial, possibly even...
Conclusion: This documentary finds a wonderful niche within the world of doing documentaries on music genres and or a specific group. If anything its far more educational and entertaining than those as there’s not a whole lot of information readily available or that you’d think to research going in. The women are all strong interviews and each has great stories and experiences to share.
Excerpt: I've always found music to be sort of difficult to talk about. I have no skill for identifying particular instruments, no grasp of the language that creates such exquisite sounds. But I do get lost in the heady, melodic blend of instruments and voices, and am just happy to be enveloped in it.
Excerpt: The names of the subjects in Morgan Neville’s documentary, Twenty Feet From Stardom , may not be familiar, and their faces may not ring a bell, but when Darlene Love takes up “He’s A Rebel” or Merry Clayton re-creates the chilling wails of “Gimme Shelter,” they’re instantly familiar. The plight of backing singers is to stand just outside the spotlight, sometimes by choice, but often because they lack a star’s ruthless drive or because the chips never fell their way.