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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Making it in the music industry takes perseverance, talent, and deep commitment. Anyone who has self-doubt may end up quitting before they hit success. But the ones who manage to stay true to their goals can end up fulfilling their dreams.
Positive Role Models
The singers in this documentary are amazingly talented, but usually remain unknown. Most, if not all, respond with uncommon grace and a deep belief that making art, not being famous, is what matters most.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some footage shows singers clad in very short skirts and see-through tops. Discussions about sexism in the industry and about how women are seen as "eye candy."
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"Ass" (as in "kick ass").
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Products & Purchases
The entire film is about popular music. Many well-known artists and some of their best-known songs are mentioned. Plenty of bands appear in historical clips and some appear on screen for interviews.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A few drug references.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fascinating documentary takes a look at some of the music industry's most important, and often ignored, performers. These background singers have been on stage with the greats of rock and roll, often providing haunting vocals to classic tracks. Yet until now, many have remained mostly anonymous. 20 Feet From Stardom is an attempt to remedy this travesty. Expect a few drug references, the word "ass," and a few clips featuring women in scanty costumes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
20 Feet From Stardom is an absolute thrill, a chance to see the faces behind the voices backing the biggest names in music -- Ray Charles, David Bowie, and the Rolling Stones, to start. They have long deserved the spotlight, and the documentary gives them their due, allowing each subject to share not only their vocal genius, but also their histories, professional and personal. The music, phenomenal here, takes second position to the singers, most of whom are yet to become household names, despite decades in the business.
Apart from being enormously interesting and entertaining (plenty of scenes feature big-name stars like Sting and Bruce Springsteen), the film offers choice surprises, including the fact that Sheryl Crow was once a backup singer; that many, like Darlene Love, have "ghost-sung" for other singers; and that a lot of these crooners, most of them women, sing even better than those who've "made it." The revelations are allowed their time in the sun, their rightful place in American history explored, but free of the heavy-handedness that plagues some documentaries. 20 Feet From Stardom is confidently told, expertly filmed, and entirely inspiring. See it.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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