Only the Strong Survive - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Only the Strong Survive Reviews

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Cole Smithey
June 13, 2009
...fails to give audiences as much frame of reference for the unifying economic, political and atmospheric elements that made the Stax brand of R&B soul music so powerful.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Christopher Null
February 7, 2004
you get the feeling that Hegedus and Pennebaker couldn't care less about soul music.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
David Cornelius
January 31, 2004
I would have prefered deeper insights... [but] as a concert film, this one's a blast.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
July 22, 2003
A disorganized sprawl.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
Shawn Levy
July 11, 2003
Lacks context, depth and a sense of purpose.
Top Critic
Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
June 26, 2003
There's no problem with a little bias, but Friedman's fan-boy perspective puts the subjects of Only the Strong Survive on too high a pedestal.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
May 28, 2003
Content to merely serve as a cluttered, heart-shaped scrapbook, missing many more stories than it bothers to include.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
John Beifuss
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
May 15, 2003
Invaluable as a record of its subjects (including the late, great Rufus Thomas), but it doesn't cohere as a feature...
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
May 12, 2003
... the music is great, but as a film thumbs down.
Brent Simon
Entertainment Today
May 12, 2003
A loving look at soul's golden era that leaves you wanting more; a disappointment in some respects because it doesn't craft a more comprehensive, cohesive background.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Jeffrey M. Anderson
San Francisco Examiner
May 11, 2003
The scrappy country cousin to the high-gloss Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
| Original Score: 3/4
Marshall Fine
Journal News (Westchester, NY)
May 10, 2003
These survivors share a timelessness and a universality that remain untouched by the fickle shifts of popular culture.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Richard Harrington
Washington Post
May 9, 2003
Fortunately, the performances themselves are beautifully filmed and recorded.
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
May 9, 2003
A film that even with its flaws should be cheered for preserving the later years of these towering musical talents.
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
May 9, 2003
Worth the time and money some of the summer's effects-driven spectacles probably won't be.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Steve Simels
TV Guide
May 9, 2003
Most of the music is as fine and fierce as you could want.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
James Sullivan
San Francisco Chronicle
May 9, 2003
With Friedman, the narrator and emissary, tossing questions as squishy as Jell-O and heaping praise on the performers for their unexceptional appearances on the oldies circuit, it's a wasted opportunity.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
May 9, 2003
Unfortunately, it's not a great movie -- and given the filmmakers involved, that's a criminal disappointment.
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
May 9, 2003
A celebration of the under-appreciated, and if any purpose beyond that is a bit fuzzy, it's a harmless aimlessness that likely won't get in the way for fans of the music.
Read More | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
May 9, 2003
I'm not sure where you go to church, but you're unlikely to experience anything as holy as Jerry Butler doing a live version of his soul classic 'For Your Precious Love' in Only the Strong Survive.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
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