Benda Bilili! - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Benda Bilili! Reviews

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Jim Slotek
Jam! Movies
October 14, 2011
Benda Bilili! is one of those overpoweringly redemptive stories that would be dismissed as sentimental wish-dream fiction if it weren't real.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Stephanie Merry
Washington Post
October 14, 2011
Staff Benda Bilili's unlikely triumph is an epic feat, with or without anyone's help.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
October 14, 2011
From out of the gloom comes the hypnotic grooves of a band called Staff Benda Bilili. The name means "look beyond appearances," and the members of this remarkable musical collective do just that.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Radheyan Simonpillai
NOW Toronto
October 14, 2011
The music speaks volumes about who they are and where they come from.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Jennie Punter
Globe and Mail
October 14, 2011
Benda Belili! reminds us that we need to look beyond The X Factor to discover musical talent that strikes a deeper chord.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
October 6, 2011
"Benda Bilili!" earns its exclamation point. It's a feel-good movie that actually makes you feel good, a story that will have you shaking your head in astonishment and moving your feet to some unstoppable rhythms.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
October 3, 2011
The tenacity of the homeless musicians in bringing their music to life, with the filmmakers' help, is an inspiration.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
David DeWitt
New York Times
September 29, 2011
"Benda Bilili!" is brutally real, a document of willpower that shows not only the magic of transcendence - which may be fleeting - but also the transformation of aspiring to it, every struggling step of the way.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
September 29, 2011
This unsentimental, smartly assembled film is equally attentive to the cacophony of African poverty and the balm of harmony provided by these pied pipers of hope.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Ernest Hardy
Village Voice
September 27, 2011
See the film to glimpse something of the band's awesome stage show.
Laura Clifford
Reeling Reviews
September 27, 2011
...engrossing, often funny and always danceable. If you think you've got problems, watch what this extremely disadvantaged group of people are able to make of their lives and be humbled.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Neil Spencer
Uncut Magazine [UK]
March 23, 2011
An intimate, shocking but ultimately exhilarating portrait of suffering and dignity.
Philip French
Guardian
March 22, 2011
[A] heartwarming, rough-and-ready Franco-Belgian documentary...
March 21, 2011
The film is a little short of information and details at times, but it's a compelling and inspiring story all the same.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Derek Malcolm
This is London
March 18, 2011
[A] genuinely uplifting documentary...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
David Edwards
Daily Mirror [UK]
March 18, 2011
Bearing more than a passing resemblance to Slumdog Millionaire, it's every bit as heartwarming.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Anthony Quinn
Independent
March 18, 2011
The term "life-affirming" has lost its significance through overuse; this documentary restores us to its real meaning.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Xan Brooks
Guardian
March 17, 2011
If the journey feels a little stage-managed at times, the film's exuberant side-notes more than make amends, as the music itself plays out as an exuberant blend of blues and African rumba.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Prudence Ivey
Little White Lies
March 17, 2011
A lesson in making the most of what you've got.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
David Parkinson
Radio Times
March 17, 2011
The climactic concerts are exhilarating, but the footage of Benda Bilili's humble origins makes a more lasting impact.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Jay Weissberg
Variety
February 23, 2012
Top Critic

New York Times
January 7, 2012
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