Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens

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Self-reflexivity aside, it would be virtually impossible to pinpoint a more intimate documentary mode than a biographical portrait shot by one's closest sibling, and that axiom undergirds Barbara Leibovitz's penetrating look at her older sister: Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens. Camera-in-hand, the elder Leibovitz not only taught Americans how to look at celebrity - single-handedly sculpting the public perceptions of such notables as Mick Jagger, Whoopi Goldberg, Demi Moore, Patti Smith, Hillary Rodham Clinton and dozens of others - but burned into the mass-consciousness indelible views of the Sarajevo and Rwanda massacres. Annie Leibovitz's photographs are iconic and everpresent, but the woman who shot them commands greater elusiveness. Traversing this longstanding barrier with the subject's permission, Barbara visits Annie at the family's rural homestead, amid the latter's strenuous work on a new photographic collection, and begins to reveal, on-camera, the many layers of her sister's personality and world view. The filmmaker is abetted throughout by celebrities who appear, sharing candid insights into the famous photographer and telling recollections of their on-set interactions with her. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens

All Critics (2) | Fresh (2)

Audience Reviews for Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens

  • Dec 02, 2011
    It's a decent docu, didn't really show you anything new if you are Annie's fan who already know the story of her life. But still watchable never the less.
    Cita W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 03, 2011
    Stunning. A great achievement in capturing the photography process, the excellent career of Annie, history and glamour etc. through the ages, Susan Sontag and why she matters, what it's really like to be on tour with The Rolling Stones in the 70's (hint: every sober person converts to cocaine and heroin abuse), and a lot more. Including great interviews with brilliant photographers, and friends, actors, models, musicians et al - you'd be doing yourself a great disservice putting 'Life Through a Lens' off.
    Jonny B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 31, 2011
    It's not going to rock your world or reveal any secrets about how Annie shoots. It's mostly about the way she thinks about shooting, which is interesting if you're interested in that kind of a thing.
    Ken S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 26, 2009
    A good biographical documentary of an iconic visual artist whose work is instantly recognizable. It is difficult to capture the brilliance of her photographs in the medium of film, and the director, who is also her sister, does her best to bring it off. The attempt to tell the story of how Annie's work evolved through interviews with her subjects, her co-workers, her associates and her employers was interesting, but not compelling. The closest we came to seeing behind the persona, was when Annie was talking about Susan Sontag's final days. They had been long-time companions, and her humanity showed through briefly in those moments. For the rest of the film, it felt like we were being shown what the artist herself and the director wanted us to see. But the essential Annie Leibovitz remained hidden behind the mask of her celebrity. There is nearly an hour of extras that appear to be the interviews and scenes that didn't make the final cut. They do help to flesh out and expand on the themes in the main body of the film. I liked it, overall. It presents to the viewer an overview of her life and work. I just didn't find enough to really grab my heart. Not enough there to compel one to look.
    Mark A Super Reviewer

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