20 FEET FROM STARDOM // Following the story of some of the most prestigious back up singers in music, “20 Feet From Stardom” pleasantly surprises, providing a relatable and insightful look at the music industry. Including interviews with Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, and Jo Lawry, and spanning decades with these women lending their vocals in some of the most famous tracks and collaborating with some of the most famous musicians of our time, this documentary recollects their illustrious pasts and shines a light on where their careers are today. Not only is the amount of songs that these women performed in baffling, but finding out that they were the voices in some of the most high profile songs of all time is quite the shock. Apart from these discoveries, however, this feels more like a VH1 special rather than an Academy Award winning documentary. Not natural born story-tellers, most of these interviews come off a bit flat, while rock stars like Mick Jagger lend their interviewing skills to tell some stories of their, helping to somewhat balance the film. “20 Feet From Stardom” is a dime-a-dozen documentary, chronicling a group of people and their lives, and, in my opinion, is nothing compared to some truly riveting documentaries that it was pitted against this year. But landing as the feel good documentary of the year, it bought itself the gold statue.
[Directed by Morgan Neville] [PG-13] [91 min] [14 June 2013]