27 May 2014 | bigmystery23
A great tribute though not necessarily a great documentary
I was able to catch the world premiere of this film in San Francisco. When I came in, I had absolutely no idea who Elliott Smith was, and that's what made this experience good. Elliott Smith is a very talented musician (as most fans already know), and it was a great choice from the director to use his music to move the film forward and to be a part of telling this story. But not even his music could make this "documentary" any less bland.
I put quotations over the word because this did not feel like a documentary, rather a nice tribute to a renowned artist. I give props to the director for helping introduce this young man, showing his awkwardness, humbleness, messy look, and troublesome upcoming into the music industry. But what starts out as a promising look into Elliott Smith's mind is ultimately diminished by lack of substance. I felt that there wasn't enough of Elliott Smith's own perspective of himself, rather memories of family and friends. And though memories can be exciting, funny, etc., there is still something missing from the entirety of a memory when told to people who weren't there.
When watching the movie, it is obvious that the director has background in cinematography because there are some beautifully filmed things. But the shots are so gratuitous. Quite frankly, it drove me crazy to see shots of Portland after a while because it took up almost half the movie! The film shouldn't have revolved around Portland, rather Portland should have been an aspect of Elliott Smith's career.
Overall, this movie is definitely more for fans than for those who don't know about him.