Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
Directors/ Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Watched on Amazon
Does it matter that I endured only 17 minutes of this film before switching it off, yet here I am still writing a review?
Frankly, I don’t care, because it must be stated somewhere, loud and clear, that Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, directed haplessly by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, is an atrocity. Stuffed to the rafters with the hoariest clichés of the trendy documentary bio-pic genre, the movie rushes forward from one superficial soundbite to the next, stuffing sequences with generic archival stills and meaningless old footage, tied together with a ghastly middle-school caliber narration from Ronstadt herself. Granted, the singer suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, and she may have not wanted to appear on camera, but the choice to have her deliver her own story with an affectless monotone, set to a bland array of grab-and-go imagery, proves to be a disastrous directorial decision and an insult to Ronstadt’s legacy.
What’s so damning and dumb and obvious about this picture is that Epstein and Friedman couldn’t care less about Ronstadt’s life story, her music, her influence, or even the craft of her songwriting. It’s as though they have plugged in a readymade formula that could be applied to any musician–Alice Cooper, Jackson Brown, Emmylou Harris, you name it–and then dropped it on unsuspecting fans like a K-Tel rip-off. God help us if they ever get ahold of the recently departed John Prine.
By applying their schlocky one-size-fits-all approach to a beloved singer who helped define a kind of comfy country folk that still resonates today, they’ve not only trashed Ronstadt’s life, they’ve made a film so crappy that it will only be remembered as an exemplary model of the kind of quick-buck, factory-processed documentary which dominates so much of the industry right now.
I wish I could be more eloquent, but this abomination isn’t worthy of either more words or your time.