Throw Down Your Heart

Critics Consensus

Throw Down Your Heart is an exuberant musical journey with an edge of sadness.



Total Count: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 242
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Movie Info

Béla Fleck is one of the world's most acclaimed banjo players and a musician who has sought to expand the boundaries of his instrument, having won awards for classical recordings and his many albums with the innovative jazz group Béla Fleck & the Flecktones as well as the bluegrass music most commonly associated with the banjo. The banjo has its origins in Africa, and Fleck traveled to the continent to study the instrument's history and collaborate with native musicians. Filmmaker Sascha Paladino joined Fleck for his journey, and Throw Down Your Heart is a documentary which follows the banjo virtuoso as he travels through Gambia, Mali, Tanzania, and Uganda, meeting with historians and musicologists and making music with artists from all walks of life, ranging from world music stars like Bassekou Kouyate and Oumou Sangare to ordinary people who share the love and joy of making music. Throw Down Your Heart was an official entry at the 2008 South by Southwest Film Festival.


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Critic Reviews for Throw Down Your Heart

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (9)

  • This is an honest journey into discovery that reveals the connection music brings between cultures where commonality is not always easy to find.

    Aug 6, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Ted Fry

    Seattle Times
    Top Critic
  • Fleck is an ideal protagonist for a film about the adhesive power of music and inadequacy of speech. Even as the plot sags and he grasps clumsily for words, his fingers on the strings are almost momentum enough.

    Jul 9, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie is at least 20 minutes too long. By the time Fleck gets to the final stop, Mali, the film, directed by Sascha Paladino (a half-brother of Fleck), has worn out its welcome.

    Apr 24, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
    New York Post
    Top Critic
  • When Ms. Sangare sings a heartbreaking lament of "a worried songbird" searching for her father, you don't need to know the language to be gripped by the force of her cry.

    Apr 24, 2009 | Rating: 4/5
  • Fleck comes across as respectfully curious and eagerly collaborative while exploring the roots of his favorite musical instrument.

    Apr 23, 2009

    Joe Leydon

    Top Critic
  • All the jams are fabulously stirring but not sappy, especially when Fleck duels with a Gambian man on a three-string akonting (forefather to the banjo), but there's nothing more to the film.

    Apr 22, 2009 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Throw Down Your Heart

  • Apr 28, 2009
    Interesting music doc about Bela Fleck's trip to Africa to reintroduce the banjo to the country that gave birth to it.
    Matthew L Super Reviewer

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