Only the Strong Survive - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Only the Strong Survive Reviews

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Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
May 12, 2003
... the music is great, but as a film thumbs down.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
July 22, 2003
A disorganized sprawl.
| Original Score: 2/4
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
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
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 8, 2003
An affair that for long stretches resembles a Time-Life infomercial hawking Memphis soul CDs.
| Original Score: 2/4
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
Gene Seymour
May 28, 2003
Content to merely serve as a cluttered, heart-shaped scrapbook, missing many more stories than it bothers to include.
| Original Score: 2/4
Sean Burns
Philadelphia Weekly
May 7, 2003
...a grotesque showcase for Fox News gossip columnist Roger Friedman to embarrass himself by fawning all over his aging heroes for an hour and a half.
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.
| Original Score: 3/5
Don R. Lewis
Film Threat
January 25, 2003
This film has so many chances to spice up the screen... and passes.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
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
Hazel-Dawn Dumpert
L.A. Weekly
May 8, 2003
If you knew nothing about the evolution of American soul going in, you won't be any the wiser coming out.
Top Critic
Charles Taylor
May 9, 2003
A shoddy, borderline incompetent documentary that offers next to no context, a movie in which the performers are lucky if the filmmakers show them performing one song all the way through.
Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Daily News
May 9, 2003
Shapeless, uninformative and strangely lacking in survival stories.
| Original Score: 2/4

Film Threat
December 6, 2005
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
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
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
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
May 9, 2003
Only the Strong Survive is a joyous tribute to soul music with some of the best singers of the 60s and 70s strutting their stuff on stage.
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