What this excellent and well-directed documentary does so well is create a profoundly nuanced portrait of a sensitive, three-dimensional woman who only wanted to be happy, and it may not tell everything about her (how could it?) but offers a touching look at her complex character. http://www.filmotrope.com
A mostly disappointing and mediocre documentary with too many boring biographical details mediated by hearsay and if-I-remember-right talk. There is too little focus on Joplin's specific style and its impact. But the idea of inserting the contents of letters is good, as well as most of the concert scenes.
The tale of how a beautiful and sweet soul can be destroyed by the ugliness of the world. Even though Janis lived in one of the greatest and unique social moments in history, she couldn't get over the pain that ironically has helped her shape her own character. This piece has achieved a great deal by successfully portraying this narrative with marvelous performances well placed throughout the documentary.
3.5 This is ok for what it is, I guess. Too much interviews with people sitting around talking, I hate that. They should show other stuff while people are talking, cinema is not radio! And when I screened it for friends who had never seen her performance at Monterey Pop, I wound up cutting away from that film to a You Tube of the actual performance. It isn't bad, but this isn't my idea of great film making.
Worth seeing for the wealth of performance footage alone as well as the choice editing throughout. Joplin was of course a force of nature and a pioneer for women in the rock n roll field but her personal demons were her undoing which is evident here. Berg for the most part lets the music tell the tale and those who were there and wisely saves the adulations from current performers for the credits.
Very nicely done. The filmmakers have the good sense to get out of the way and let Janis tell the story through her music and her words. I feel like too many stylistic cinematic devices would have distracted from this beautiful artist's searing, soulful pain and ferocious, agonized talent. Feeling good was obviously not good enough for her. Her music speaks to the yearning romantic in all of us. Janis was singular.
I feel fans will gain the most out of this competent but rather mundane documentary. No doubt a fascinating, emotionally rich and attractive subject to film, hers was a tragic story full of vulnerability, genuine heartfelt warmth and positive determination. This one just missed though.