This is my entry for “M” in the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Throughout April I will be watching and reviewing a documentary movie from A to Z. Some other “M” documentaries I’ve reviewed are Mad Hot Ballroom, Man on Wire, Maradona ’86, March of the Penguins, Mathematically Alive, Mysteries of the Rimet Trophy, The Myth of Garrincha and possibly My Winnipeg.
Title: Miss Sharon Jones!
Release Date: 11 September 2015
Director: Barbara Kopple
Production Company: Cabin Creek Films
This is the second straight movie in the A-to-Z project that focuses on a creative person dealing with the effects of cancer on their lives and career. While Life Itself showed Roger Ebert’s treatment at a rehabilitation center as a frame for the full story of his life, Miss Sharon Jones! focuses entirely on Sharon Jones’ treatment and recovery and her return to recording and performing filmed over the course of 2013-14 with only brief mentions of her earlier life and career.
This film is very intimate showing Jones cutting off her hair in preparation for surgery, the boredom and pain of chemotherapy, and her daily schedule of tv viewing while recovering at a friends’ house. Jones often seems to be the happiest one around while her friends and colleagues worry about her health and deal with the stress of not knowing if they can commit the band to tour dates. But sometimes her facade cracks such as the moment when her band suggests canceling their Thanksgiving dinner and Jones loses her cool.
Near the end of the film, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings make their triumphant return to the stage at the Beacon Theater, the camera catching Sharon Jones waiting nervously in the wings before confidently strutting on stage. The performance isn’t perfect – Jones forgets the lyrics to a song – but the support and love from the band and audience makes it all the more exhilarating. The movie ends on a happy ending, but it doesn’t last. Shortly after the film’s premiere, Jones announced that the cancer had returned, and she died in November 2016 at the age of 60.
What Can One Learn From Watching This Documentary:
First of all, if you don’t know the music of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, this is a wonderful introduction. More importantly, this is a story of human resilience and joy in life from someone who has encountered more than her fair share of adversity.
This is best summed up in her song “I’m Still Here.”
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Source: I watched this movie on Netflix streaming.