Neil Young: Heart of Gold - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Neil Young: Heart of Gold Reviews

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cosmo313
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2006
In 2005, lauded musician Neil Young was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. After getting this news, he wrote and recorded Prairie Wind- an album of ten sweet and folksy, but rough-hewn country rock songs that are both reflective on the past, but also look into the future. Shortly before he went in for surgery to correct the brain aneurysm, Young and his band, along with special guest Emmylou Harris, played a pair of concerts at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee- the original home of the Grand Ole Opery. The concerts featured the Praire Wind album in its entirety, along with an encore set of older songs that had been previously recorded in Nashville.

Filmmaker Jonathan Demme was there to document this event on camera, and this film, is the resulting compilation of the major highlights. It's very folksy, reflective, and full of sentimentality. Only one song features an electric guitar, but there's still a great deal of heart, soul, and hope to be found here.

Peppered with some of Neil's dry humor and a few interviews at the beginning, this is an elegantly simple concert film that is quite enjoyable and really comforting. The great thing about Neil is that he's always been great at performing both folksy acoustic music and raw electric jams with great skill. All of what's featured here is the former, but, even though I tend to prefer his more 'grungy' electric stuff, sometimes nothing beats the lighter stuff.

All of the musicians are at the top of their game, the Prairie Wind album is pretty decent, and the songs for the 'classics' set are well chosen, and have a few of my favorites like "Heart of Gold", "Harvest Moon", and "The Needle and the Damage Done", so that makes me happy.

If you're a fan, you definitely dig it. If you're not a die hard, you might find it to be decent, and if you're a newcomer, this might not be the best place to start, but it probably couldn't hurt, either.
Super Reviewer
½ June 18, 2007
Well shot and interesting, but the featured album (Prairie Wind) is kind of "same old Neil," and though listenable, the lyrics are kind of schlocky. As far as concert films go, though, this is something worth seeing - the Ryman auditorium is such an amazing venue.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
April 26, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]"Neil Young: Heart of Gold" is a concert film capturing Neil Young and friends performing songs from his album "Prairie Wind", along with some of his older songs, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in 2005. The movie as directed by Jonathan Demme places the emphasis where it belongs - squarely on the musicians, the audience never being shown.(I recall a critic praising Demme for using a similar technique in "Stop Making Sense." Now, there is a movie I have to see one of these days...) The empty auditorium is shown at the start and end of the film. There are perfunctory interviews in the beginning which set the scene(the new album, Neil Young's recovery from a brain aneurysm, etc.), mostly filmed in the back seat of cars which give the impression of there being little time to spare. The concert itself is wistful and contemplative, with Neil Young paying homage to times gone by, and people no longer alive, especially his father who had just died. Overall, he gives the impression of somebody at peace with himself.[/font]
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2012
A fitting tribute to a great and still underappreciated artist. Demme succeeds where Young fails in his later Trunk Show film. Well rounded film that lets the music do the talking and what a story it tells.
Super Reviewer
½ November 17, 2006
Pleasant enough, but really for fans only.
Tecnoandre
Super Reviewer
December 18, 2010
Documentary and concert film by Jonathan Demme, featuring Neil Young. The film was made in the summer of 2005 in Nashville, Tennessee, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and was released to theaters on February 10, 2006. The film documents Young's premiere of his songs from his album Prairie Wind at the Ryman Auditorium.
Great concert, great movie.
Great music.
Super Reviewer
April 10, 2010
The camera follows respectfully Neil Young on stage during the performance of the "Prairie Wind" show in Nashville, Tennessee and Jonathan Demme with simplicity and love draws the portrait of the great man and the artist, letting him go on his stage jokes with his old rugged dry humor and watching him play under the rim of his hat. At the end you can't help but falling in love with his art and his heart. Heart of Gold indeed.
July 11, 2013
I'm not too big on Neil Young's more modern stuff and wasn't too familiar with Prairie Wind but this concert was pretty good.
½ June 10, 2012
If this concert was based on another Young album like 'Harvest,' 'Tonight's the Night,' or 'After the Goldrush,' it would be an easy 5/5.
June 20, 2007
I guess I find it hard to review straight-up concert movies. It doesn't offer too much insight into any of the musicians, save for the first few minutes , but the music itself is great, the sound was clear, and it was in focus. So if you like Neil and watching concerts on your TV screen, I see no reason not to recommend it.
June 1, 2008
It's really hard to make a good concert film. Because chances are when you're a big enough star to have a concert film made...the show itself is what people are there to see. The job of the filmmaker is to present it in a way that helps transfer the show to the big screen. This one definitely makes the transition by giving you an intimate feel to a Neil Young concert in Memphis, TN. The lighting and the way it's shot really are remarkable and work very well for the type of show that Young does. Obviously, if you're not a big Neil Young fan, you might not be overwhelmed by the movie, but you might come to appreciate the man a little more by seeing it if you're just a casual fan. Very good movie.
½ June 1, 2008
A wonderful piece of filmmaking and performance. It may not be as conceptually bold or unexpected as Stop Making Sense, but it's as well put-together.
May 13, 2008
Fabulous! I just rewatched it on DVD. It's better on the big screen, because there it's almost as good as being at a live concert. But even on DVD the music is fantastic and Neil Young is just a dear heart. He's an old man now and when it first comes on I thought, "My gosh he's old and he's ugly," but as time goes by and you see his heart and his soul, he transforms into a beautiful man and you just can't take your eyes off him. The man he is comes through clearly in the words he wrote, the music he plays, the way he looks at his friends, the way he moves. His new music is as good as his old music. I didn't want the movie to end.
½ April 6, 2008
Just a short time after undergoing surgery, Neil Young sets out to prove he has a lot of fight left in him, as he performs some classics and many selections from his album Prairie Wind, all while Jonathan Demme's camera follows closely.
June 4, 2007
No thrills concert movie with Young in top form performing his great Prairie Wind album and then a selection of classics from throughout his career. The camerawork and editing does not really show off, lending to the stripped down nature of the music...
July 1, 2007
Far superior to Year of the Horse, Jonathan Demme creates a documentary that has the feel of a good dream.
½ April 10, 2014
Neil Young's music and persona may be an acquired taste; but well worth the effort. This is the mellow Neil Young; not the Rockin' in the USA version. His music and band maintain their affectionate quality like worn leather. Jonathan Demme has a gift for capturing the musicians, the flavor, and the aura. Enjoy it!
October 24, 2013
There was nothing like seeing this in theatres and it still holds up.
July 11, 2013
I'm not too big on Neil Young's more modern stuff and wasn't too familiar with Prairie Wind but this concert was pretty good.
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2006
In 2005, lauded musician Neil Young was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. After getting this news, he wrote and recorded Prairie Wind- an album of ten sweet and folksy, but rough-hewn country rock songs that are both reflective on the past, but also look into the future. Shortly before he went in for surgery to correct the brain aneurysm, Young and his band, along with special guest Emmylou Harris, played a pair of concerts at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee- the original home of the Grand Ole Opery. The concerts featured the Praire Wind album in its entirety, along with an encore set of older songs that had been previously recorded in Nashville.

Filmmaker Jonathan Demme was there to document this event on camera, and this film, is the resulting compilation of the major highlights. It's very folksy, reflective, and full of sentimentality. Only one song features an electric guitar, but there's still a great deal of heart, soul, and hope to be found here.

Peppered with some of Neil's dry humor and a few interviews at the beginning, this is an elegantly simple concert film that is quite enjoyable and really comforting. The great thing about Neil is that he's always been great at performing both folksy acoustic music and raw electric jams with great skill. All of what's featured here is the former, but, even though I tend to prefer his more 'grungy' electric stuff, sometimes nothing beats the lighter stuff.

All of the musicians are at the top of their game, the Prairie Wind album is pretty decent, and the songs for the 'classics' set are well chosen, and have a few of my favorites like "Heart of Gold", "Harvest Moon", and "The Needle and the Damage Done", so that makes me happy.

If you're a fan, you definitely dig it. If you're not a die hard, you might find it to be decent, and if you're a newcomer, this might not be the best place to start, but it probably couldn't hurt, either.
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