20 Feet From Stardom 2013

20 Feet From Stardom

Critics Consensus

Rich, insightful, and occasionally heartbreaking, 20 Feet From Stardom is an energetic tribute to the passion, talent, and hard work of backup singers.

99%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 128

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,511

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20 Feet From Stardom Photos

Movie Info

Filmmaker Morgan Neville shines a long-overdue spotlight on the hit-making contributions of longtime backup singers like Darlene Love and Merry Clayton.

Cast & Crew

George Conrades
Executive Producer
Art Bilger
Executive Producer
Peter Morton
Executive Producer
Joel S. Ehrenkranz
Executive Producer
Nicola Marsh
Cinematographer
Graham Willoughby
Cinematographer
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News & Interviews for 20 Feet From Stardom

Critic Reviews for 20 Feet From Stardom

All Critics (128) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (127) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for 20 Feet From Stardom

  • Oct 25, 2014
    An enlightening and at times heartbreaking salute to the singers who have, in many ways, been the backbone to popular music for decades, and we don't even know their names.
    Jared H Super Reviewer
  • May 13, 2014
    20 feet from Stardom served to remind me that in this life talent alone is rarely enough in itself to succeed. You need a slice of luck and also a doggedness and determination, in short you've gotta want it enough. And that's the thing with this documentary. After all the accolades its received I expected a catalogue of hard luck stories, regret and downright disrespect but that isn't what I saw in this. Admittedly there is some behaviour that can only be described as bang out of order. Like the singer who recorded a track only to hear it on the radio being passed off as being sung by someone else. A kind of pre Milli Vanilli but without the intent. There was also the story of one of Michael Jacksons ex backing singers who seemed to be trying so hard to make a solo career but the harder she tried, the more it just didn't happen. To me there was no reason why this lady (Judith Hill) shouldn't succeed. She not only has a superb voice but is also very pleasing on the eye. So maybe this highlights the opposite of what I am saying in that even with all of the right ingredients, fame and success is still not a given. But what I took from this documentary is that the majority had a big respect with many major artists competing for their services. One very talented lady won a Grammy to recognise her efforts but not all of those featured desired solo success and this struck a chord with me. There did seem to be a stigma attached to this and the aforementioned Judith Hill was certainly a victim of this. And then there is the Waters family. Renowned and revered throughout the industry as some of the best there has ever been. They did the backing vocal to Thriller and bizarrely some animal sounds in the film Avatar (yes seriously). To say that this family annoyed the bejesus out of me is an understatement. They insisted on singing at almost every opportunity throughout the documentary including what felt like singing answers to questions posed to them. I could just envisage in my mind's eye the Waters family going down en masse to their local shop to sing for 40 fags, a cornetto and a can of Red Bull in the style of a Skiffle band. Maybe at dinner they have a riff off for the right to the last piece of bread? Ten minutes in this family's company and I'm sure I'd be searching for a rusty blunt instrument to sever their vocal chords. However, I would deny this thereafter in a court of law.
    Justin F Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2014
    Entertaining look at the world of backup singers, "20 Feet From Stardom" is a treat. The best moments are when the performers' faces are in full frame as they listen to their old recording - the memories flying in their minds. The documentary touches on the highs and the lows of the music business for these performers and never fails to entertain. The only issue with "Stardom" is how it jumps from interview to interview leaving very little time for facts to sink in and to settle - you get to know the major players but the minor players that are extensively interviews aren't given much chance to connect. Yet "20 Feet From Stardom" proves to be an in-tune documentary that proudly wears its heart on its sleeve.
    Tony G Super Reviewer
  • Feb 26, 2014
    Following the lives of background singers of famous artists from the past, "20 Feet From Stardom" is a very inspirational documentary that tells you that whatever your dreams may be, nothing is impossible and you always have to start somewhere, even if that somewhere seems to be getting you nowhere. Sure, the film does not have much of a linear story to follow, but it is more of a feel-good series of stories that drives this pictures to be loved by all. I did not love watching this film as some probably will, but I really really enjoyed it. This film gives me motivation to continue pursuing my passion and not to accept just any job forever. This is a very well-made documentary. A great contender for the Oscars.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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