My Father and the Man in Black Reviews

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Guy Lodge
This is London
August 12, 2013
In-the-family documentaries are often more emotionally rewarding for their makers than their viewers.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
David DeWitt
New York Times
September 6, 2013
Here these men are but ciphers; we want understanding, but we get only suggestion.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Robbie Collin
Daily Telegraph
August 1, 2013
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 | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Tom Huddleston
Time Out
July 30, 2013
The result will amuse hardcore Cash fans, but few others.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
September 12, 2013
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 | Original Score: 2.5/5
Keith Phipps
The Dissolve
September 5, 2013
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 | Original Score: 2.5/5
Philip French
Observer [UK]
August 4, 2013
This film is rather like BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?, but with altogether too many scenes re-enacted by lookalikes.
Austin Trunick
Under the Radar
August 18, 2014
It's certainly a more enlightening look than any big-budget Hollywood biopic could offer.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Sheila O'Malley
RogerEbert.com
September 10, 2013
This has the potential to be dreadfully maudlin stuff, but the film is too damn interesting to be maudlin.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Jennifer Tate
ViewLondon
August 1, 2013
Incredibly eye-opening and extraordinary thanks to endearingly personal accounts and strong archival footage.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Alan Scherstuhl
Village Voice
October 2, 2012
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.
Nora Lee Mandel
Film-Forward.com
September 19, 2013
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 | Original Score: 6/10
Nigel Andrews
Financial Times
August 1, 2013
Plays like a non-fiction Walk the Line with script input by Eugene O'Neill.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Rich Cline
Contactmusic.com
August 1, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Ronnie Scheib
Variety
September 3, 2013
Partly transcends its inherent self-indulgence.
Top Critic
Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times
September 5, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3/5
Andrew Pulver
Guardian
August 1, 2013
For Cash devotees who want a hitherto-hidden perspective on their man ... this is invaluable viewing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
David Parkinson
Empire Magazine
July 28, 2013
Slightly jerry-built reconstructions detract from an intriguing film with a unique angle on the country legend.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
September 13, 2013
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 | Original Score: B
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