Still Bill - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Still Bill Reviews

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April 25, 2014
A good documentary on Bill Withers, and how he lives by his own rules. He walked away from the music business in 1985 and appears to be comfortable in his retirement.
½ March 5, 2013
I love Bill Withers. Didnīt know about his struggles and how humble he is. Lovely man.
½ January 16, 2013
Just wonderful all the way around
December 14, 2012
A very moving and entertaining biographical documentary of the great soul singer Bill Withers. Despite not having released any music for about 20 years he still is at the top of my play-list.
August 4, 2012
Great doc about a true living legend that did not let the industry make him crazy
July 27, 2012
The inspiring story of a stuttering child from the southern coal fields of West Virgina who grew up to be arguably the greatest soul musician of all time. Phenomenal doc. Bill Withers is truly one of a kind. Such an incredible talent and amazing human being. Get inspired. Watch this now.
May 2, 2012
"Still Bill" is a loving valentine to Bill Withers, an "unknown legend" whose music, includes classics such as "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Lean on Me." He and his music are important inspirations to jazz musicians and up and coming performers and songwriters. We learn about his early years as a stutterer, his "breakthrough" on the Johnny Carson Show, not to mention his loving, caring relationship with his family. Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley put Withers life and contributions into historical perspective. This is truly a touching and inspiring work when placed against the often tragic tales of Hendrix, Joplin and others. Bravo!
½ April 22, 2012
This movie bored me to sleep
½ March 13, 2012
Interesting for the 'where are they now' element, but apart from showing Bill's current life, it doesn't say much.
½ March 12, 2012
A really lovely documentary about a very special man. Very moving and I think it is physically impossible not to like his music.
November 18, 2011
Bill Withers is a musician everybody knows whether they know it or not. As Bill himself says, "He is like the pennies in your pocket you know are there, but you don't think about them." His songs are known to all. "Lean on Me", "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Just the Two of Us". If you haven't heard at least one of these songs you are lying. What makes Withers such an interesting character is the fact that he rocketed to stardom as a soul singer in the 70s, but after recording his last album in 1985, he just walked away from the business. Since, Withers has not been heard from, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

I am not sure what filmmakers Damani Baker and Alex Vlack wished to accomplish with this documentary, or even what Bill Withers hoped would come of it. But what I discovered was a fascinating man who has led a fascinating life. I find the man and his life so fascinating perhaps because he is so simple, and has lived his life simple. He is a normal man, just like you and me. He is from a coal camp in West Virginia called Slab Fork, which he goes back to visit in the film. He attends a high school reunion and reminisces about how they had to go in the back door to get that delicious ice cream. And skinny dipping in the creek in the summer.

Withers talks just like he sings, organically. Music is universal because it comes from a feeling, it comes naturally, and the best music is not manufactured by the industry, but rather materializes from the experiences of humans and that is what Withers music was like. He was the exception. His music was strongly based on his singing and lyrics. He didn't have any real bells and whistles. That is the type of thing that put him at odds with music executives that wanted him to do things like cover Elvis' "In the Ghetto". At the end of the day, when Bill got a family, he got out, and on his own terms.

The film paints Bill as an average Joe and I don't think he would want it any other way. The film is aptly named because he is still the Bill Withers that was famous. He is still that man because that man was always Bill Withers. He didn't conform or bend over backwards for anybody. He was, is, and always will be Bill Withers. That is the type of life more people should live. Be true to who you are and don't worry about the people who try to bully you or tell you to live your life a different way. Happiness and a good life come from doing what makes you happy and what is true to yourself. Bill Withers did that in his life and in his music. He does it to this day and that is why he is 'Still Bill'.
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2011
There exists a rather tired bit of popular slang: "keeping it real". Well I'm here to tell you that through this documentary you get to see a genuine person - no b.s., no window dressing - just a real, genuine person who knows who he is and doesn't make apologies.

For the uninitiated, Still Bill is about Bill Withers, a multi genre singer/songwriter who had several very large hits and then, in the middle of his fame, chose to simply walk away... not from music, but the music business.

At the time of the filming Bill celebrated his 70th birthday, and we find that he is just as fresh and real as he was when he, as he put it, told the "blacksperts" to shove it. We get to see him revisit his old home town - a mining town (in other words, everything there, the buildings and the stores, were all owned by the mining company) - just walking about with an old school chum and talking of the relevance of a time and place, and how that time and place should and does resonate and form a great deal of your persona.

There is also a good deal of archival footage, live performances from the 70's along with interviews from that period that show Bill just being Bill. Along the way we also see some recent "guest" appearances with various musicians and a very interesting chat with renowned thinker Cornell West. We also see that he is still creating music, from working songs with his daughter to an informal jam session with a blind Latin music virtuoso who, when he mentions that he is "disabled", Bill corrects him and tells him that he is "enabled".

Really, this is a guy you'd just want to sit down and chat with, and through the documentary you really get the sense that why his music was popular, was because he was able to channel who he was into every syllable of lyric and every chord he played.

If you are unfamiliar with his body of work, here's just a short list: Ain't No Sunshine, Just The Two of Us (with great sax work by the late Grover Washington), Use Me, Lean on Me, Lovely Day, Who Is He (and what is he to you?), and Grandma's Hands. Check it out, you'll be glad you did.
September 10, 2011
@john Westman,@keith oswald John recommended this movie while we were working out in the fitness center, and it is a great film. For those who have suffered through stuttering, it is also uplifting. Can be streamed from Netflix.
August 22, 2011
Just saw the film .....and I must say it is indeed one of the most BEAUTIFUL documentary films ...very sensitive and touch about Bill Withers one of my favorite artists ....If you know his music you should se him....
June 29, 2011
This documentary is brief, but Bill Withers is so likable and thoughtful and, of course, an amazing artist. I'm really glad I watched it.
May 28, 2011
Damn, this was a good little documentary about a helluva decent human being...great addition to what's going to be a fine Saturday!
April 27, 2011
Great documentary about Bill Withers who had a short albeit very successful career in music. He walked away from the industry to be a family man. Withers is an inspiration and a role model to young people who stutter and just listening to him talk will bring tears to your eyes. Highly recommended!
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2011
The simple glimpse into his life was interesting enough for this man who wrote "Lean on Me", "Ain't No Sunshine", "Use Me" and many more. I really did not remember who Bill Withers was and watched this movie on a recommendation/lark, but after watching it I will never forget him. Like his songs his words are eloquent in their simplicity.

Unlike many musicians Bill is educated and had lived a full life before taking-up music a 32 Yrs old. From his musical beginnings to dropping out of the scene to raise his children he was unwavering in focus and would not let the music industry define him and his music.
April 3, 2011
Bill Withers is a sensitive and thoughtful man, and he shares his inner self with clarity and sincerity. A well-done study of a man worth knowing.
½ March 21, 2011
Wow. This was great. A guy that looks like he could be working on my toilet produces some of the most memorable music of the century.

A great film that is worth the watch.
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