Movie Review: Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice



Starring: Linda Ronstadt

Directed By: Rob Epstein (Lovelace, The Times of Harvey Milk)

Rated: PG

Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes

My base of knowledge of Linda Ronstadt is admittedly poor. I’m aware she sang a ton of hits in differing genres.I know the name, I’m well aware of her Hall of Fame status.So I’ll start by saying I learned a lot from this documentary.I’m not sure how much diehard fans of hers will learn from this.It’s more or less a recitation of her Wikipedia page.The doc offers very little insight to how and why certain life choices were made.

We’ve been ingrained with a certain kind of rock doc.Musician makes horrible sacrifices to succeed, succeeds, indulges in excess, and loses it all.There isn’t a lot of that here.If this film is to be believed, Linda found success fairly easily and had no troubles whatsoever maintaining it.There’s very little struggle or hardship mentioned, even when the singer discusses her Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Everything is sort of glossed over.We never spend more amount of time on one event than another life event.Even when you might be shouting at the screen for more information.The question of why certain things happened is not only not answered, it’s never even asked.That frustrated me at times throughout the feature.

The pacing of the doc is essentially “Linda did this, then this, then this, then the record label told her not to do this, she did it, and it succeeded, then Linda did this”.We’re conditioned for a more in-depth rock documentary that may skip ahead years at a time.The Sound of my Voice is the antithesis of that.

There is the occasional bright spot, however.Dolly Parton provides the most insight of the talking heads featured.Which shouldn’t surprise viewers that Miss Parton would say whatever pops into her head.Here energy and storytelling ability are definitely the highlight.

All in all, the film isn’t bad by any means.This is the story of a musical pioneer in many ways.Her talent and tragic illness make for a great story.I’m maybe not the ideal reviewer for this movie, I’ll be the first to admit that.I’m not a fan, I’m not a hater either.I’m just not passionate enough about the material.I think a more in-tune viewer might really enjoy this. There’s just a part of me that was always wondering if hardships just rolled off of Ronstadt’s back this easily or if we were watching a puffy documentary unwilling to shine a light on the terrors of the music industry.

On a scale of “See It/Stream It/Skip It” – Skip It – For me, I was just not familiar enough with the material to have my interest peaked.For fans of the singer, I’m sure there is enough here for you to rediscover a number of classic songs in the singer’s catalog.

If you liked What Happened, Miss Simone?, 20 Feet From Stardom, or The Punk Singer you might enjoy Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of my Voice.

2.5 out of 5 stars for Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of my Voice debuts this Friday at the Ruth Sokolof Theater in downtown Omaha.


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