Standing in the Shadows of Motown 2002

Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Critics Consensus

A toe-tapping tribute to the band that gave Motown its sound.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 93

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,204

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Movie Info

This documentary mixes performances, interviews and reenactments to celebrate the Funk Brothers, the 1960s soul hitmakers. As the musicians behind the Temptations, the Four Tops and others, the "brothers" were hugely successful, yet relatively anonymous compared to the famous singers they backed. They get their due here, as Richard "Pistol" Allen, Benny "Papa Zita" Benjamin and bandmates discuss their Detroit youth, studio sessions alongside Marvin Gaye and nonstop touring.

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Critic Reviews for Standing in the Shadows of Motown

All Critics (93) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (8)

Audience Reviews for Standing in the Shadows of Motown

  • Oct 19, 2012
    A great exploration of the performers who don't get the measure of credit that they should - the background players. This is the story of those who can be heard on the hits but are lost in the credits. Very gifted and talented. I'm glad their story is told.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2012
    Great: hearing the original Motown musicians play together and tell stories. Not great: fleeting-popularity guest singers like Joan Osborne, Ben Harper, Meshell Ndegeocello and Gerald Levert (not to mention a lot of ugly perms) that make the film seem badly dated just 10 years later. The occasional use of acted recreations is another dubious -- and unnecessary -- choice.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2009
    Fantastic documentary about a group of unknown musicians, self-named The Funk brothers who were the musical force behind so many of the Motown classics; partnering Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson... name a hit, and chances are, they were playing on it. Narrated by Andre Braugher, the film for the most part keeps him in the background and lets the musicians speak for themselves, and they do in a series of gentle stories and anecdotes. mixed with sadness about the musicians they lost along the way. The reminiscing is interleaved with a recent reunion concert where, if you weren't convinced so far, they prove once again that their contribution to the Motown sound was priceless. If you're a fan of the music already, this is a must-see.
    Lesley N Super Reviewer
  • May 31, 2009
    partially interesting near the start when you find out that these chaps have been playing the instruments in most of the motown songs you'll of heard or know, but quickly goes downhill as the stories they have to tell are almost non events and there's plainly too much yapping with not enough music/singing. the other fault is that when the performing does come along it's not very accessible. the only artist i enjoyed watching was ben harper and he only sung other peoples songs. a big NO NO!
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer

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