Throw Down Your Heart Reviews

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Avi Offer
NYC Movie Guru
April 25, 2009
It's filled with lively, soulful musical performances that keeps you mostly compelled, but it eventually becomes somewhat dull and lacks enough profound insights, which ultimately leaves you feeling underwhelmed.
Full Review | Original Score: 5.75/10
Joseph Jon Lanthier
Slant Magazine
April 20, 2009
The film fails as a personal diary due to Fleck's unflappable aloofness, and the performance footage is rendered unsatisfying by frequent interjections of expository material or cutaways to seaside B-roll that seems photographed for tourist brochures.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Ted Fry
Seattle Times
August 6, 2009
This is an honest journey into discovery that reveals the connection music brings between cultures where commonality is not always easy to find.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic

New York Post
April 24, 2009
The movie is at least 20 minutes too long. By the time Fleck gets to the final stop, Mali, the film, directed by Sascha Paladino (a half-brother of Fleck), has worn out its welcome.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Nora Lee Mandel
Film-Forward.com
May 5, 2009
Fleck speaks more with his fingers than in conversation, and the pure musician-to-musician communications joyfully cross language barriers and instrument differences.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Top Critic
Aaron Hillis
Village Voice
April 22, 2009
All the jams are fabulously stirring but not sappy, especially when Fleck duels with a Gambian man on a three-string akonting (forefather to the banjo), but there's nothing more to the film.
Chris Faraone
Boston Phoenix
July 16, 2009
If Fleck weren't such a gracious soul chasing the spirit of Sankofa, this could have been an exercise in exploitation of Graceland-ian proportions. But that's hardly the case on his magical musical mystery tour.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Laura Bennett
Boston Globe
July 9, 2009
Fleck is an ideal protagonist for a film about the adhesive power of music and inadequacy of speech. Even as the plot sags and he grasps clumsily for words, his fingers on the strings are almost momentum enough.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Sophie Harris
Time Out
November 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Karina Longworth
SpoutBlog
April 29, 2009
A beautiful illustration of powerlessness in the face of art.
Top Critic
Reyhan Harmanci
San Francisco Chronicle
March 13, 2009
It's an entertaining journey, and director Sascha Paladino injects humor and pathos into the musical sequences.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Jennifer Merin
About.com
August 16, 2009
Musician Bela Fleck brings the banjo back to Africa, where it originated. Overall, the music is terrific and the film's intentions are good. But less would have been more.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Stan Hall
Oregonian
July 17, 2009
As a record of a musical experiment, Sascha Paladino's film is a feast of stirring sounds and sights.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Rob Humanick
Projection Booth
April 30, 2009
Unbegrudgingly hands itself over to the music of its chosen subjects.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
April 23, 2009
A musical adventure that follows an American banjo player to Africa where he discovers the power of music to bring people of very different cultures together.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
April 24, 2009
When Ms. Sangare sings a heartbreaking lament of "a worried songbird" searching for her father, you don't need to know the language to be gripped by the force of her cry.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Sara Maria Vizcarrondo
Boxoffice Magazine
March 18, 2009
There's tragedy lurking behind every story, but also a necessity that transforms mere histories into something sacred.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Phil Hall
Film Threat
April 24, 2009
Fans of world music will enjoy the vibrant and spontaneous performances gathered here.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Michele Kenner
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
August 13, 2009
It's a journey long on affecting songs and musical passages, and short on scholarship -- and that works just fine for Fleck's intentions.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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