Will rip your heart right out of your chest and crush your soul and somehow still make you glad you watched it. Which is sort of how you feel when you listen to Johnston's music, when you think to yourself "wow, okay, this kind of genius does exist, and it can't really exist without madness and crippling loneliness and gallons of tears."
Excellent documentary examines the complicated life and personality of one of the most fascinating figures in recent pop culture. Whatever your opinion of Daniel Johnston and his art, director Jeff Feuerzeig finds just the right blend of style, pathos, and ambiguity to make this one of the most intriguing and poignant character studies, documentary or otherwise.
it's so sad to see a beautiful and creative human being strive so much against a mental illness. this movie really broke my heart, my tears were about to fall every time and i tried to hold them back... but at the same time it filled me with hope with the little dance dan did at the very end :) at least he seems better and happier now. love you daniel!
I watched this without previous knowledge of his work and it totally worked for me. I'm very impressed. Daniel Johnston is very talented and has an intense mind. You can see this through the film and it'll leave you wanting for more.
The movie does a good job of raising questions about the nature of Johnston's celebrity and how his mental illness is both exoticized and exploited. Bands and fans looking for something 'authentic' are drawn to him, despite clear signs that he is not well. Parts of the movie are heartbreaking, especially when we get to hear from his parents. In the end, by watching the movie itself I felt a bit complicit and uneasy.
On the one hand, praise be to weird, unpretentious people with imperfect bodies and voices who nonetheless are brave enough to express real feeling through their art, and are rewarded for doing so. On the other hand, as demonstrated by the very existence of the film and the people surrounding DJ, many of his struggles and triumphs were generated by the American fame machine.