Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Dec 20, 2012
    By focusing on musicians who are talented but finally not good or persistent enough to succeed in the big time, Not Fade Away offers a poignant, alternative, antiheroic history of the big beat.
  2. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Dec 19, 2012
    Chase deals with the mundane reality that squashes those dreams, but he doesn't downplay the dreams themselves, which he keeps honoring throughout Not Fade Away, right up to an audaciously abstract final scene that rivals the end of "The Sopranos" for sheer nerve.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Dec 18, 2012
    It's a small gem with a killer rock soundtrack, well worth seeking out amid all the awards-season Sturm und Drang.
  4. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Dec 18, 2012
    It isn't until the story reaches its fancifully abstract final passages, where cinema displaces music as Douglas's weapon of choice, that Chase's reverie reveals itself as a particularly exceptional exploration of how art ceases being an idle hobby and becomes an obsessive vocation.
  5. Reviewed by: Jaime N. Christley
    Dec 4, 2012
    Triumphs when David Chase's empowerment as a kind of autobiographical historian is balanced with the thrill of submersing the viewer in the tidal pool of his memories
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Dec 29, 2012
    As an avid music fan & aspiring rock musician, I was very interested when I saw the trailer for this movie, and all that interested was definitely justfied, and then some, because Not Fade Away is simply fantastic. First of all, I appreciate that rather than being centered around the big & famous musicians like a lot of similar films would do, this film follows a band, The Twylight Zones, that suffers a lot & even ends on a rather bleak & ambiguous note as to whether or not they'll make it as a band at all. Not only that, but the characters here all seem very realistic. There are no cheap one-note stereotypes or clear antagonists, but rather a group of generally reasonable people that run into very believable problems & misunderstandings. Something like this definitely helps with the relatability factor. Another thing to note is that this is set in the mid-late 60s, and even as someone who was born decades after this time, I could easily believe that the settings here are accurate, with possible minor embellishements here & there for added effect. Steven Van Zandt produced this, and it's very easy to tell that a musician was involved with this. Even though I don't have an impressive amount of band experience yet, a lot of subtleties of being a musican are covered here, mainly in the songwriting process. Speaking of the music, in addition to great older songs being used very often (which would be implied in a film like this) the original song here main character Doug wrote about his breakup, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, is also very impressive, and I'm so glad they released the soundtrack on iTunes cause it's a genuinely good song. M only real gripe with this movie is the last minute, where a girl starts talking to the camera & dancing in the middle of the street. It just lost me there, and would've been much better if it ended on what was happening rght before that. Overall, Not Fade Away is a very well-rounded movie, creating moments that are fun, emotional, relatable & sweet, while never losing focus & keeping a very good & steady pace, making it's over 2 hour running time very justified. Full Review »
  2. Nov 13, 2014
    "Not Fade Away" 10 Scale Rating: 5.0 (Mediocre) ...

    The Good: Solid musical score. Even the tracks written for the film felt authentic and
    fit in to the era they were portraying. James Gandolfini did a great job even if he was similar in some ways to his Sopranos character, minus the gangster thing. Truly speaks to anyone who wanted to try and start a band and make it in the industry, regardless of what decade it was.

    The Bad: Sort of goes on and on and loses steam halfway through. Starts becoming a chore to watch and you want to get to the ending so that you see what happens. Once you get there, you are pretty let down though.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 1, 2014
    The film's take on music in the 1960s is well thought and presented. The music may be the best part; however, Chase does certainly know how to make a film like this special. Full Review »