The Singing Revolution (2007)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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After enduring WWII-era brutalization by Hitler's Nazi Party and decades of repressive Soviet dictatorship, the tiny Eastern European nation of Estonia began to declare its independence from Communist rule in the late '80s. Over a five-year period, beginning in 1986, hundreds of thousands of Estonians began to systematically and repeatedly gather in public venues to collectively sing illegal patriotic songs, declaring their desire for national independence but never resorting to violence amid their protests. It was no coincidence that Estonia subsequently became one of the first nations to break away from the Soviet Union in the events leading up to the fall of the Iron Curtain. The documentary The Singing Revolution chronicles this extraordinary yet seldom-told chain of events. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi
Documentary , Special Interest
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Linda Hunt
as Narrator

Critic Reviews for The Singing Revolution

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (18)

'Nonstop Estonian folk music' might not be a great format for a radio station, but it sure works for The Singing Revolution.

Full Review… | July 11, 2008
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

This fine and surprising documentary asks an even more challenging question: Can music promote nonviolence, prevent bloodshed and successfully overthrow an oppressive regime? Again -- astonishingly -- the answer is 'yes.'

Full Review… | June 20, 2008
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

The thrill of this documentary is in the remarkable story of the Little Country That Could.

Full Review… | May 30, 2008
Top Critic

As far as the plot goes, widespread lack of familiarity with Estonia's recent history actually works in the film's favor: Suspense born of ignorance lends the unfolding drama the urgency of a political thriller.

Full Review… | May 22, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Patience may not the most exciting movie subject, but The Singing Revolution is, in its deceptively mild way, inspiring.

April 24, 2008
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

It's a powerful story of a nation that, almost literally, sang its way to freedom.

Full Review… | April 17, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Singing Revolution


Excellent film about a piece of history that's ignored too often. Shows how a people, united by culture, although not fully united in their goals, were able to destroy the Soviet power over them. The website has additional resources for teachers. This is the review on my blog:

Jennifer Vaughn
Jennifer Vaughn

:fresh: :fresh: :fresh: :fresh: :fresh: :fresh: :fresh: This is a very important film that every American should see to better appreciate what we take for granted.

David Fournier
David Fournier

[font=Century Gothic]Well, I went to see [u]The Singing Revolution[/u] with my sweetie yesterday. The story it told is amazing, that the small Estonian nation was able to hold onto its national identity and throw off the Soviet yoke largely through their folk song tradition and their annual Song Festival. The importance of song to the Estonians seemed to me rather like the importance of song to the Welsh, who also hold such large festivals and which allowed them to maintain their national identity -- Welsh is still a living Celtic language. Admittedly, luck and time played a part in their success -- it turned out that their own government, still under Soviet control, had become more responsive, and the Soviet Union itself was falling apart. Had the singers tried such a push 10 years earlier, the Soviet tanks would turned Tallinn into another Prague. [/font] [font=Century Gothic]That said, I would have to say that the documentary itself, while well done, was not exceptional. The documentarians did a good job of contacting most of the relevant parties, and they made this film close enough to the event that there were many who could contribute. Linda Hunt's narration was fine, but this is a film about how singing fueled a peaceful revolution -- it seemed like it should have had more zing. It was probably too much to expect something like "Broadway Melody" from [u]Singin' in the Rain[/u], but a little more flash would have made the film watching experience better -- the actual historical event was one worth capturing, and the filmmakers did an adequate job -- they could have done more. [/font]

Bernard Norcott-Mahany
Bernard Norcott-Mahany

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