Heaven Adores You

Nickolas Rossi's Documentary Film Captures The Essence Of Elliott Smith

by Pete Crigler

elliottsmith_heaveanadoresy_150With this, the first ever full-length documentary detailing the life and music of the legendary Elliott Smith, the man’s musical legacy comes to the forefront. Drawing together great archival footage from both Heatmiser and Smith’s solo career as well as new interviews with family, producers and close friends, you get the clearest picture of Smith yet seen on film. He was a very complex, heartfelt man with the deepest and most honest lyrics heard in a hell of a long time and wore his emotions on his sleeve and the film covers all of that and more.

Tracing his story from his youth in Texas to coming of age in Portland to success and his untimely end in Los Angeles, the film does an excellent job of hitting all the highs and the lows of his career. From recordings with his high school band to performing “Miss Misery” on the Academy Awards, the director does everything right and doesn’t do it with so much sentimentality that arises in a lot of similar documentaries.

Director Nickolas Rossi has managed to do what the two biographies that came out after Smith’s death haven’t done: humanize him, beyond just the tragic singer-songwriter who may or may not have stabbed himself. He presents a clear picture of a musician who, although he had his demons, managed to work through him to create some truly fantastic music. Fortunately, the film doesn’t dive into any conspiracy theories surrounding his death, which is a fantastic thing, God forbid you don’t want this to turn into another “Kurt and Courtney.”

This is one of the most interesting documentaries to come out in recent memory and if you’re a fan of singer/songwriters, indie rock and amazing lyrical insight, then this is definitely a documentary you need to check out!

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