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20 Feet from Stardom (2013)20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

Back-up singers take a deserved spotlight in this Oscar-winning doc

Documentary, Drama, Music

7.4

movie

United States of America

English, Spanish

Easy, Feel-Good, Heart-warming

2013

Morgan Neville

Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Botti

89 min

Synopsis

Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.

Our Take

7.4
Gerald Cajayon

For the background singers featured in 20 Feet from Stardom, music is a vocation. It is not merely an occupation or a pastime; it is a way of life, a “higher calling,” as the legendary Lisa Fischer would say. For 90 minutes, director Morgan Neville superbly maps out the development of back-up singing in the US throughout the decades, exploring its deep connection with African-American culture and women’s history. It’s fun to finally put names and faces on the oohs and aahs we hear on records aplenty, but the film always finds its grounding on the singers’ own unique voices, where its true soul lies.

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