Only the Strong Survive - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Only the Strong Survive Reviews

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Dennis Harvey
Variety
December 11, 2008
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Time Out
June 24, 2006
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 7, 2004
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 3, 2003
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Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
June 26, 2003
There's no problem with a little bias, but Friedman's fan-boy perspective puts the subjects of Only the Strong Survive on too high a pedestal.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Gene Seymour
Newsday
May 28, 2003
Content to merely serve as a cluttered, heart-shaped scrapbook, missing many more stories than it bothers to include.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
May 12, 2003
... the music is great, but as a film thumbs down.
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Richard Harrington
Washington Post
May 9, 2003
Fortunately, the performances themselves are beautifully filmed and recorded.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
May 9, 2003
A film that even with its flaws should be cheered for preserving the later years of these towering musical talents.
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Mike Clark
USA Today
May 9, 2003
Worth the time and money some of the summer's effects-driven spectacles probably won't be.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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James Sullivan
San Francisco Chronicle
May 9, 2003
With Friedman, the narrator and emissary, tossing questions as squishy as Jell-O and heaping praise on the performers for their unexceptional appearances on the oldies circuit, it's a wasted opportunity.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
May 9, 2003
Unfortunately, it's not a great movie -- and given the filmmakers involved, that's a criminal disappointment.
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Tom Long
Detroit News
May 9, 2003
A celebration of the under-appreciated, and if any purpose beyond that is a bit fuzzy, it's a harmless aimlessness that likely won't get in the way for fans of the music.
| Original Score: C+
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
May 9, 2003
I'm not sure where you go to church, but you're unlikely to experience anything as holy as Jerry Butler doing a live version of his soul classic 'For Your Precious Love' in Only the Strong Survive.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Charles Taylor
Salon.com
May 9, 2003
A shoddy, borderline incompetent documentary that offers next to no context, a movie in which the performers are lucky if the filmmakers show them performing one song all the way through.
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
May 9, 2003
An entertaining documentary that catches up with R&B and soul superstars whose heydays were in the '50s to '70s.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
May 9, 2003
The classic soul that pumps, struts, growls and cries through Only the Strong Survive is so adrenalized that young audiences encountering the music for the first time could easily find themselves converted into old fogies.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
May 8, 2003
The film offers a terrific lineup, performers whose ability to enthrall audiences is undiminished years after their peak of popularity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 8, 2003
An affair that for long stretches resembles a Time-Life infomercial hawking Memphis soul CDs.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
May 8, 2003
The movie is redeemed by the performances, which are uniformly good.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 8, 2003
It gets to you, watching R&B legends such as Sam Moore, Jerry Butler, the Chi-Lites, Carla Thomas and the names above dig deeper into the music they made in the Sixties and Seventies.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Hazel-Dawn Dumpert
L.A. Weekly
May 8, 2003
If you knew nothing about the evolution of American soul going in, you won't be any the wiser coming out.
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Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
May 8, 2003
Must be appreciated as an idiosyncratic chronicle as well as a collection of performances, some better than others.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Eileen M. Drennen
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
May 8, 2003
Witnessing these singers' grace is a pleasure.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
May 7, 2003
A vital musical ramble, showing us where some of soul's founders landed after their moment of pop glory.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
May 6, 2003
Lacks the journalistic hook of Standing in the Shadows of Motown, but there are moments that will induce the susceptible to break into a big foolish grin.
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Judith Prescott
Hollywood Reporter
January 25, 2003
It's fascinating to watch a group of artists who still get an enormous buzz from performing.