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Universal acclaim - based on 40 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 69 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. The picture gently caricatures the folk music scene with dozens of delicate brush strokes, creating a picture that's increasingly, gloriously funny -- as in entire lines of dialogue are lost because the audience's laughing so hard.
  2. Reviewed by: Kevin Carr
    100
    There are no sacred cows in A Mighty Wind. Even beloved public television is skewered by Guest and Co. In a lot of ways, this movie pokes the most fun at the average PBS liberal who refuses to let go of the 1960s.
  3. 90
    It's a fine-grained picture that goes for the sideways laughs rather than the straight-ahead ones. This is sketch comedy as method acting.
  4. I laughed myself silly through most of A Mighty Wind, and was pleasantly surprised when it took a turn toward genuine feeling near the end.
  5. The parody would be more memorable if it satirized a broader section of the folk-music scene instead of limiting itself to commercialized acts of the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul & Mary ilk. But it is as accurate as it is funny.
  6. 75
    A hilarious, pitch-perfect comedy.
  7. 50
    Details like period fashion and album covers are handled flawlessly. It's the big stuff that falls short of the standard set by this troupe. A Mighty Wind is good for an occasional laugh but you're not likely to be blown away.

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 44
  2. Negative: 7 out of 44
  1. WesM
    Jul 8, 2008
    10
    Consistently (if not always uproariously) funny.
  2. NickN.
    Apr 25, 2003
    9
    A MIGHTY WIND, a film from director Christopher Guest and his talented ensemble of improvisational players (Guest himself, Harry Shearer, A MIGHTY WIND, a film from director Christopher Guest and his talented ensemble of improvisational players (Guest himself, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, Eugene Levy, Catherine O?Hara, Jennifer Coolidge, Fred Willard, etc.) is both delightful and disturbing, but on balance I enjoyed it very much. It is not so much a send-up/spoof of folk music as it is a (mostly) successful attempt to find the funny, ridiculous, and perverse foibles of any people who are passionate about something and found-- however briefly-- even moderate success with their passion. The MIGHTY WIND experience is unique. So much so that there is really nothing to compare it with, and my evaluation reflects my being tremendously impressed, perhaps more than its actual overall accomplishment (although it is quite good). There will be a tendency to compare it with THIS IS SPINAL TAP (where Guest, Shearer, and McKean first impersonated a musical trio), and also to Guest?s other two ?mockumentaries??WAITING FOR GUFFMAN and BEST IN SHOW. Such comparisons are not really apropos. While the style and format of all these films may be the similar, and while they may share many of the same brilliant cast members, in substance A MIGHTY WIND is, indeed, a different piece of work. The film is certainly another "mockumentary", but by definition this is simply a mock documentary, not necessarily a mocking one. Indeed, the satire is pointed, but fairly gentle, and there is about the whole experience as much the quality of a tribute as there is of comedy. Guest et al seem to enjoy the folk music genre, and, unlike BEST IN SHOW, they often find themselves laughing with it, not at it. What makes it all work are the songs. The creators (Guest, Levy, et al) have gone out of their way to fashion a credible backstory, complete with truly original songs written for the film, which are. performed (sung AND played, often live) by the actors who play The Folksmen (based on a bizarre combination of The Kingston Trio, Limeliters, Brothers Four, Cumberland Three, Highwaymen, Tarriers, Brandywine Singers, etc.), The New Main Street Singers (a very loose mix of the New Christy Minstrels, Back Street Majority, Serendipity Singers, Seekers et al), and Mitch & Micky (who owe a lot to Ian & Sylvia, with a dose of John & Michelle Phillips thrown in). Still, none of these comparisons can be made too literally, as all are leavened by a dose of the creators' unique sense of humor. The songs themselves are worth listening to. Of course they are parodies. Anyone familiar with the 60s folk genre has but to listen carefully to the lyrics. But they are performed so sincerely, so seriously, that at first you don't notice: you just enjoy the pleasant, somewhat nostalgic harmonies. When you finally figure it out, the straightforward (nothing coy or wink-wink about it) presentation makes it all so much more effective and brilliant. They are also good songs which perfectly capture the special sound of each particular group or style they are trying to evoke, and they are all the funnier for the sincerity of their performance. The performers are obviously enjoying themselves, and so will the audience. Parts of the movie are hilarious, other parts perhaps a tad stereotypical and maybe even offensive. But as a creative exercise that will introduce more people to the essence of folk music's popular heyday, it is definitely worth seeing (and hearing). Folk music in this country is centuries old, and the movement continues to this day. It was only during the Great Depression, however, that it began to assert itself as ?popular music?, represented by pioneer performers such as Woody Guthrie. In the 40s, the Almanac Singers featuring Guthrie were among the first of the popular folk groups, exemplified by The Weavers during the 1950s. Social commentary and protest was as much a part of folk music as entertainment, and Bob Dylan continued that emphasis into the 1960s. But in the early part of that effervescent decade, folk music exploded as an incredibly popular and commercial force, represented by groups like The Kingston Trio, The Highwaymen, The New Christy Minstrels, and Peter, Paul, & Mary?all of whom (along with others) charted number one hits and found themselves more than once in the top twenty. This ?Great Folk Scare? (as the rock n?roll community labeled it) did not last long. Bob Dylan and the Byrds electrified folk, while The Mamas & The Papas carried the sound to new and different heights. Except for The Limeliters singing ?Things go better with Coke?, folk music no longer was in the commercially popular spotlight, but it did not go away. In various permutations, The Kingston Trio, Highwaymen, Limeliters, Brothers Four, New Christy Minstrels, and Peter, Paul & Mary continue to perform today, and while they still sing the old songs well, they are not content to rest on their laurels, but are always open to new songs and original music. In addition, new folksingers have emerged on the scene, keeping the medium vibrant and alive. A MIGHTY WIND recaptures the glory years of commercial folk popularity in the early 60s. It recognizes the differences that existed even then?between songs with a message and songs that sell, and between traditional style and more crowd-pleasing entertainment. All of that is brought into today, using established venues such as New York?s Town Hall and recognizable references such as Public Broadcasting, while skewering pretension with such players as Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge, and Ed Begley, Jr. (a Swedish Yiddisher?) leading the way. The balance struck between the extreme and the sincere is what makes a MIGHTY WIND, with its intentionally effective original music, so compelling and delightful. Since so few good original songs are written for films these days (particularly songs which have anything to do with the film itself) it wouldn't surprise me if a song or two from A MIGHTY WIND found itself/themselves nominated for the Best Song Academy Award. My Oscar recommendation goes to "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow". But you see it and decide for yourself. If I have one strong objection to this film, it is that it is too short, with not enough made of certain dynamite characters (Parker Posey?s for one, and Jennifer Coolidge?s for another: although they are perfect). Guest recognizes Willard and Begley as his comic center and Levy and O?Hara as his dramatic center, and this gives the film a narrative focus that some of his other works have lacked. Still, I kept hoping for more. You will too, I think. Enjoy! Expand
  3. MelL
    May 11, 2009
    9
    Not sure why I'm not giving this thing a '10', other than I believe nothing's perfect. Let me say this: I am no fan of Not sure why I'm not giving this thing a '10', other than I believe nothing's perfect. Let me say this: I am no fan of Eugene Levy, and I sorta cringe whenever I see his name on the marquee...BUT.. in this movie, he absolutely OWNS every scene he is in. As someone who originally expected to fast forward the scenes Levy was in, instead I kept rewinding just to watch him. He was in rare form and hilarious in the extreme. Collapse
  4. Aug 23, 2010
    8
    Folk legend dies, siblings arrange tribute concert bringing back lost legends of folk.
    Brilliant mockumentary with Christopher Guest & his
    Folk legend dies, siblings arrange tribute concert bringing back lost legends of folk.
    Brilliant mockumentary with Christopher Guest & his regular cast. It was good to see Guest, McLean & Shearer back together as they bounce off each other so well & the fact that it's mainly improvised makes it funnier.
    Eugene Levy & Catherine O'Hara are great too playing a sort of folk version of Sonny & Cher with Levy returning as a severely damaged man.
    If you love Guest's other work then this is as good as anything else he's done.
    Wha Happened?
    Expand
  5. Aug 4, 2013
    6
    It's humor may be a little too slow and dry for some, but the lovable characters, infectious music, and entertaining use of mockumentaryIt's humor may be a little too slow and dry for some, but the lovable characters, infectious music, and entertaining use of mockumentary format make "A Mighty Wind" worth a glance. Expand
  6. ShawnS
    Jun 14, 2008
    3
    Surely this is not a cookie cutter movie. It does not recycle mainstream humor

See all 44 User Reviews

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