A subtle documentary about an unique and brilliant musician
If you're a fan of Bill Withers, you'll truly appreciate this in depth and personal documentary. It focuses primarily on his life and achievements at the age of 70, but it also revisits his past and how events and people shaped him and who he is today. Withers is amazingly funny and wise - full of life lessons that shouldn't be missed.
If I had a complaint about the documentary (or why I wouldn't give it a 10/10) I would say that some of the material ventures into overly sentimental themes but that's not easy to avoid.
After seeing it, I immediately began rooting through my music collection to find my Bill Withers material.
Reviewed by druid333-210 / 10
Bill Is Still Bill (still is Bill, still...or is he?)
For anybody who grew up listening to & loving soul music in the 1970's, this film is well worth seeking out. It concerns Bill Withers,who had a long string of chart hits,from his signature "Ain't No Sunshine" (which opens the film),"Grandma's Hands","Lean On Me",and others. In 1985, Bill decided to end his career in the music industry (but he never stopped writing or playing music---just for his own pleasure). We get first hand accounts from Mr. Withers,himself on life,love & just why he stepped down from the limelight. We are treated to various clips of Bill (mostly from television appearances)playing snippets from his hits,in conversation with Tavis Smiley & Cornell West,and kudos from the likes of Angelique Kidjo,Sting & others. Damani Baker & Alex Vlack co direct this ever so fine portrait of a man who preferred family over success. I guess my only issue with this film is that it's somewhat short (it clocks in at a scant 78 minutes). I know I had the same issue with the recently released 'Soul Power' (which for me could have been a good three hours,as there was boat loads of talent playing at that festival). Short running time aside, this film is still worth checking out,if you love soul music. Not rated by the MPAA,this film contains a naughty word or two,but has nothing else to offend.
Reviewed by runamokprods9 / 10
Wonderful, up-beat documentary about a man who was and is true to himself
Delightful, short, but insightful documentary about the great 70s and 80s R+B icon Bill Withers, who wrote and sang such great hits as 'Ain't No Sunshine' and 'Lean on Me'.
It's a portrait of a wonderfully strong yet gentle and likable man, who refused to bend to record company creative demands, even though it might have cost him fame and money, and who simply walked away from the music business when it was no longer something he wanted to deal with.
Now at age 70, he dispenses wonderfully wise and witty aphorisms, and still works on music, but for himself, not the world. He's also open enough to question whether his lack of ambition is a good or bad thing – although on evidence he seems about as happy and well adjusted a man as you could find, loving his family, helping stuttering kids (he suffered with the same problem through much of his early life), and enjoying the creative process itself as an end, not a means.
Quiet, simply filmed, this documentary made me feel good about life, and immediately want to go order a CD of Wither's greatest hits.