The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (15)
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A film that makes a lovely introduction to Smith's music but a lousy account of his life.
Evocative location photography gives a strong sense of the indie rock scenes he inhabited in Portland, Oregon, and New York City, and there are affecting interviews with friends and colleagues who struggle to make sense of it all (as do I).
However hard this documentary tribute tries to celebrate Smith's achievements, the dark stuff is never too far under the surface.
Heaven Adores You means to celebrate Smith's life, not his death.
Because of the integrity of the whole enterprise, it never approaches the mawkish showbiz bullshit stories like that tend to engender in lesser docs.
Despite repeated testimonials stating [Elliot] Smith's genius, [Heaven Adores You] never really explores what made his music resonate and endure, a real missed opportunity.
Rossi may have aroused an appreciation of Smith's music but he may also have unwittingly refuelled more than a traducing interest in his gnomic demise.
While the documentary might be a bit lengthy, it is tied together with great spirit and any fan of Smith's would be remiss to skip out on Heaven Adores You.
Heaven Adores You works best if you approach it like a mixtape or a fanzine. Watching the film feels just like discovering him on DIY mixtapes so many years ago.
Heaven Adores You is the most complete, least icky attempt to date at telling the story of late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith.
We know the music is good. But essentially, this film could do with a little more rigorous investigation about who Smith was and what drove him.
Unless you're a superfan, you'd be better off watching Smith's best performances on YouTube instead.
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