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My Father and the Man in Black Reviews

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Nora Lee Mandel

A strong story without the reconstructions. . . son/director could have trusted the powerful audio-visual material. . . instead of overplaying the reenactments and narration.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 6/10

September 19, 2013
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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You get a strong whiff of what it must have been like to be Johnny Cash, or his exasperated manager, from this film. It would make a good companion piece to "Walk the Line.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: B

September 13, 2013
Sheila O'Malley

This has the potential to be dreadfully maudlin stuff, but the film is too damn interesting to be maudlin.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 3/4

September 10, 2013
Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times
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Despite the clunky mix of narrative formats, "My Father and the Man in Black" makes for an illuminating alternate history of sorts to the Hollywoodized version of Cash's ascendancy in "Walk the Line."

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3/5

September 5, 2013
Ronnie Scheib
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Partly transcends its inherent self-indulgence.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 3, 2013
Andrew Pulver
Guardian [UK]

For Cash devotees who want a hitherto-hidden perspective on their man ... this is invaluable viewing.

Full Review Source: Guardian [UK] | Original Score: 3/5

August 1, 2013
Nigel Andrews
Financial Times

Plays like a non-fiction Walk the Line with script input by Eugene O'Neill.

Full Review Source: Financial Times | Original Score: 4/5

August 1, 2013
Rich Cline

It's fascinating to look at the life of Johnny Cash from a new angle, even if this documentary feels somewhat self-indulgent and a bit amateurish.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 3/5

August 1, 2013
Jennifer Tate

Incredibly eye-opening and extraordinary thanks to endearingly personal accounts and strong archival footage.

Full Review Source: ViewLondon | Original Score: 4/5

August 1, 2013
David Parkinson
Empire Magazine

Slightly jerry-built reconstructions detract from an intriguing film with a unique angle on the country legend.

Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Original Score: 3/5

July 28, 2013
Alan Scherstuhl
Village Voice
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As Cash might say, it has the heart, and it has the blood, and by the time childhood chatter is played back again, feeling is soaked through it like the sweat in Cash's guitar strap.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

October 2, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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It's good that Holiff wants to unlock this puzzle, but Cash is so compelling a figure that he is ultimately the only character we truly care about.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 2.5/5

September 12, 2013
David DeWitt
New York Times
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Here these men are but ciphers; we want understanding, but we get only suggestion.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 2/5

September 6, 2013
Keith Phipps
The Dissolve

My Father And The Man In Black is partly a biography of Saul Holiff, partly an account of Jonathan Holiff's relationship with his dad, and never particularly successful as either.

Full Review Source: The Dissolve | Original Score: 2.5/5

September 5, 2013
Guy Lodge
This is London

In-the-family documentaries are often more emotionally rewarding for their makers than their viewers.

Full Review Source: This is London | Original Score: 2/5

August 12, 2013
Philip French
Observer [UK]

This film is rather like BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?, but with altogether too many scenes re-enacted by lookalikes.

Full Review Source: Observer [UK]

August 4, 2013
Robbie Collin
Daily Telegraph

Holiff assembled this memoir from his father's papers and audio diary, although the portrait of Cash that emerges is that of a pill-popping religious nut, and there is next to no insight into his music or creative process.

Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph | Original Score: 2/5

August 1, 2013
Tom Huddleston
Time Out
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The result will amuse hardcore Cash fans, but few others.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 2/5

July 30, 2013
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