Throw Down Your Heart (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Throw Down Your Heart (2008)

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

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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 (23) | 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.

Full Review… | August 6, 2009
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.

Full Review… | July 9, 2009
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | April 24, 2009
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.

Full Review… | April 24, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic

Fleck comes across as respectfully curious and eagerly collaborative while exploring the roots of his favorite musical instrument.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Variety
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.

Full Review… | April 22, 2009
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Throw Down Your Heart

I may be biased on this one. As a huge Fleck fan, I saw the premier in Central Park after a particularly awesome concert. It was a neat experience.

Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson

This documentary is full of emotion, adventure, and wonderful music. The brave and virtuosic Béla Fleck takes the banjo in the only direction left untraveled by him, directly into its African roots. With a humble spirit and collaborative skills honed over a lifetime of performing and recording, Béla and his fellow travelers and hosts create an enchanting narrative that leaps from one African culture to another, each with its own deep traditions, players, and instrumentation. With a hypnotic energy, the music will lift your heart and make you feel like dancing. Celebrate life, music, and the banjo and enjoy this film!

Bryan Landers
Bryan Landers
½

My favorite stuff: music and culture and travel. Outstanding study of a great musician seeking other musicians, except he couldn't use craigslist to find these dudes. Bela loves the people he meets, and his humbling demeanor ingratiates and enriches those people as they do for him. One of those 'if you do not like it, what planet are you living on' movies.

Robert Ostrochovsky
Robert Ostrochovsky

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