Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)
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Critic Reviews for Standing in the Shadows of Motown
The Funk Brothers seem to have hardly missed a beat.
There have been better documentaries to come out this year, but none can touch this one for unadulterated pleasure.
I promise, you'll never listen to a Motown classic in the same way ever again.
The documentary stumbles where it could have soared.
Try as you might to resist, if you've got a place in your heart for Smokey Robinson, this movie will worm its way there.
You may not end up dancing in the street, but don't be surprised if you cut a step or two in the parking lot.
Audience Reviews for Standing in the Shadows of Motown
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.
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.
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.
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