Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16

Where To Watch

Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. Margaret Brown's honest and non-judgmental film captures the artist's high and low points, from early appearances on regional television shows such as "Nashville Now" to the drunken and disorderly performances that defined his later years.
  2. 83
    It does a splendid job not only of introducing newcomers to a vital artist they might have missed, but of reminding rabid fans of Earle's stripe why they were infected to begin with.
  3. Rather than connecting all the chronological dots, Brown has fashioned Van Zandt's balm-to-the-brokenhearted legacy into potent cinematic poetry.
  4. Rejecting normality for nomadism, Van Zandt's life was difficult, but, man, what a legacy of music he left.
  5. it's Van Zandt's family that provides the film's most memorable moments.
  6. 75
    an infomercial for death starring Townes Van Zandt.
  7. 75
    When the film ends, we're haunted. We've been driving with a ghost.
  8. Tender but unsparing, heartfelt and unapologetic.
  9. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    A dignified and wistful look at the unusual life, difficult career and lasting influence of singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt.
  10. 70
    Brown's respectful film offers the usual music-doc mix of archival footage, song clips, and talking heads, but with a figure as enigmatic and underreported as Van Zandt, the safe course works well.
  11. Here, as in so many other documentaries about troubled musicians, the word genius is casually tossed around. But does every unstable, self-destructive artist defiantly living on the edge qualify for that description? In Van Zandt's case, maybe yes.
  12. 70
    The archetypal Townes Van Zandt song is a low-key ballad filled with sadness and failed humanity. Director Margaret Brown's documentary about the revered songwriter's songwriter (who died at the age of 52 on New Year's Day, 1997) keenly achieves the same tone.
  13. Brown's engrossing and poignant documentary on Van Zandt, is filled with appearances by celebrated performers who are simply fans of this legendarily troubled figure with the aching voice and haunted Lincoln-esque look.
  14. 70
    This may not be a solid biography, but it feels true.
  15. Loving but frank, Brown, by refusing to judge her film's subject, never falls into this trap. Too frequently, however, the side-of-the-road montages that are meant to mesmerize offer only blurry filler instead.
  16. Proves a less-than-satisfying examination of the country singer's art, career and demons.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. PatrickH.
    Feb 7, 2006
    An excellent, well sequenced movie. Townes time in Europe not mentioned much - only complaint.
  2. JeradS.
    Dec 21, 2005
    Really well done... definitely worth seeing.
  3. [Anonymous]
    Dec 12, 2005
    Insightful and moving, but depressing as hell.