20 Feet from Stardom

Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, Jo Lawry, Stevvi Alexander, Lou Adler, Patti Austin, Sheryl Crow, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Rolling Stones, 

20 Feet From Stardom: just outside the spotlight of the world’s most successful singers stand some of the most ludicrously talented, yet under-appreciated musicians on the planet – this doc is an ode to them. The narrative flips between a whistle-stop history of backing singers in popular music; and the current plight of some all-time greats, who are struggling to find work these days. The best thing about this is hearing phenomenal voices belting out stunning arrangements and goin’ all diva on your ear holes – the vocal talent involved is unbelievable. Where the doc falls down however is that after a strong setup, it wallows a little too long in the pity party and sob stories of a few singers that tried to make it on their own but haven’t quite arrived – taking the simplistic stance that talent alone should obviously guarantee success. The film would have worked better as a celebration of the talent of those involved, and how they’ve become immortalised in music history; it’s not all bad however as there’s a fantastic 40-50 minute TV show in here. Despite being an Oscar winner, this is nowhere near the heights of other musical docs like Searching for SugarmanAnvil: Story of Anvil, or even Benda Bilili.

Score: 4/10


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