Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2013. Gil Friesen Productions, Tremolo Productions. Cinematography by Nicola Marsh, Graham Willoughby. Produced by Gil Friesen, Caitrin Rogers. Film Editing by Douglas Blush, Kevin Klauber, Jason Zeldes.
Rarely do you attend a concert of a big name musical act that does not have on the stage at least one background singer enriching the performance. In this delicious documentary we find out about the lives of many of the most notable of them; they may not be stars when you see them backing up Bette Midler, Sheryl Crow, or Stevie Wonder (all of whom appear here, among others), but they have lives and careers that are rich with everything except household name success. In some cases they were talented enough to be stars but lacked the desire for the attention, in others there was no opportunity, or attempts to raise them to stardom simply didn’t quite catch with the public. In all the stories there is a fascinating trajectory of up and down whose one common element is the desire to be in the music business and the dedication to being as good as possible. There is not a deep emotional resonance to the experiences related here, most of them are given too short a period of time to sink in, but the thrill of the music and a look at some rock-solid performances appropriately provides the substance that is enjoyed. It is assembled expertly at a zesty pace and the personalities involved, most especially the perpetually gorgeous Darlene Love, are all irresistible.
Academy Award: Best Documentary Feature