A Trustworthy Portrait of an Icon

This evaluation is a part of our protection of the 2023 Sundance Movie Competition.

The Pitch: Willie Nelson is an American unique. Extensively considered one of many best singer-songwriters within the historical past of widespread music, the redheaded stranger himself has lived a life that poises him as an unbelievable documentary topic. The five-part sequence, which premiered Friday, January twentieth at this 12 months’s Sundance Movie Competition, positions itself because the “first and solely documentary” about his life, permitting him to inform his story in his personal phrases.

Willie Nelson & Household assembles a powerful assortment of parents round him to take action. This contains fellow musicians like Dolly Parton, Invoice Anderson, Brenda Lee, Jeannie Seely, Kenny Chesney, Margo Worth, and Wynton Marsalis, together with historian Michael Grey and author John Spong. The documentary is rounded out by members of Willie’s household, his band referenced within the title, and numerous longtime group members and confidantes.

On the Highway: Administrators Thom Zimny and Oren Moverman supply two very stacked resumes: Zimny is a Grammy and Emmy-winning artist who has directed documentaries about Bruce Springsteen, Elvis, and Johnny Money. He clearly is aware of how you can discover the story of a musician like Nelson, particularly when becoming a member of forces with an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker like Moverman. The snags in Willie Nelson & Household don’t a lot really feel like a case of too many cooks within the kitchen as they really feel like proof of the significance of enhancing: The 2 minds behind the documentary actually gathered a wealth of testimonies, footage, photographs, and tales, however don’t appear prepared to half with any of it.

See also  Miley Cyrus Declares New Album Infinite Summer season Trip

Willie Nelson & Household may need labored higher as a movie, or may’ve been trimmed and condensed to a few components. Total, the 5 episodes really feel sadly missing in focus; whereas a meandering, non-linear construction (or lack thereof) actually feels applicable for the topic of the documentary, it doesn’t make for probably the most partaking materials for the viewer.

Roll Me Up and Smoke Me: We start with loads of time spent in Nelson’s youth and adventurous teen years, hopping trains, inflicting bother, and worrying in regards to the state of his soul all through. (Attempt to not snort at his frank supply of “We solely had three issues to do: struggle, fuck, and throw rocks.”) A number of the threads within the first two episodes tie into the tales that finally turned Nelson’s iconic Redheaded Stranger album, however and not using a central narrative, leaping between his failed time within the Air Drive, marital and monetary strains, and songwriting struggles feels erratic.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top