20 Feet From Stardom (2013)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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

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Movie Info

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film. (c) TWC-Radius
Rating:
PG-13 (for some strong language and sexual material)
Genre:
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Critic Reviews for 20 Feet From Stardom

All Critics (110) | Top Critics (31)

It's that versatility that defines these singers, the ability to make following seem as important as leading.

Full Review… | December 31, 2013
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The documentary tells similarly poignant stories in a fast-paced 91 minutes through interviews, contemporary concert footage and great archival stuff.

Full Review… | December 31, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

As long as you're hearing the singing and stories of Lisa Fischer, Merry Clayton, and the great Darlene Love, you can bliss out on their passion.

Full Review… | October 4, 2013
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

The movie takes its cues from Standing in the Shadows of Motown, another act of pop-culture revisionism that tried to give musical credit where it was due.

Full Review… | July 11, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Just about everything in this movie is right. And anybody who gives a rip about unsung heroines of popular music and giving credit when credit's overdue had better come up with a good excuse not to see it.

Full Review… | July 11, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

You may never hear the Rolling Stones's Gimme Shelter the same way again after hearing Jagger's and Clayton's separate accounts of the recording of the song.

Full Review… | July 4, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for 20 Feet From Stardom

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 Gandía
Tony Gandía

Super Reviewer

½

An interesting and occasionally poignant insight into the work of these talented artists unjustly neglected in the background of fame, even if the rather clumsy editing also makes it a bit hard for us to keep our interest for too long, as it scatters their stories together.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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 Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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