Heaven Adores You Review

 

Heaven Adores You is a captivating documentary detailing the life and musical career of songwriter Elliott Smith up until his untimely demise in 2003.

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This film is an elegy of sorts- an homage to Elliott Smith, and the people, places, and times that molded him.  A wide range of interviews, featuring Elliott’s family, long-time friends, and coworkers, give viewers insight into the tumultuous journey of this musical genius.  We first see Elliott as a young boy, dabbling in music while also struggling with an abusive stepfather, then as an up-and-coming rocker more concerned with having green hair than making a music video.  Finally, we are shown a well-known singer-songwriter crippled by his own success.

The shots in this documentary are beautifully rendered and feature Texas, Portland, New York, and Los Angeles- all of the places that Smith called home. These cities are Smith’s co-stars in a way here-each one lending a different element or feel to his music. For example, Elliott first starts experimenting with raw, solo-style music in moody, atmospheric Portland.

The real highlight of this film, however, is footage of Smith himself. We witness an awkward but painfully intimate man who is entirely unprepared for fame. His radio interviews (often featured in this film) are brutally honest and at times uncomfortable. For this reason, Smith’s friends describe him throughout as someone they felt like they needed to protect emotionally. He was just too fragile and real to be a star.

All in all, this is a film that comes across as a labor of love – a love for music, a love for American cities, but greatest of all, a love for Smith. This film features the people who loved him at his best and at his worst. It is intimate and personal rather than broad and overarching. This, coupled with previously unreleased Smith songs, makes this movie a must-see for any Elliott Smith fan.

-Jocelyn Probasco

Rating: 9.5/10

Heaven Adores You/ 1 hr. 44 min./ http://www.specticast.com/

Heaven Adores You is in theaters in cities for one night starting on 5/7/15 . Find tickets for the showing around you at http://www.specticast.com/titles/heaven-adores-you . 

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