Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: When people ask her "How does it feel to be a rock icon?" Patti Smith says she "always thinks of Mount Rushmore." Steven Sebring's directorial debut takes a lyrical, stream-of-consciousness approach that is exactly right in his affecting portrait of the "rock-and-roll Joan of Arc." She can bring a crowd of devotees to its feet chanting "Glor-i-a!" as effectively as she can share her pain over the early death of her husband, Fred Smith, her brother, her close friend Robert Mapplethorpe, and other artists she admires. Everyone knows that Patti Smith's music, poetry, and politics are fearless, funny, raw, and original. But this film also captures her physical presence--her gamine beauty and charming, self-effacing style--that will take you by surprise and leave you deeply moved. (Palm Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. A knowledge of Smith's landmark contribution as a rock 'n' roll pioneer is not essential, and the film should be a joy for anyone interested in pop culture of the past 40 years.
  2. A lovely, drifty first feature that feels less like a documentary and more like an act of rapturous devotion.
  3. 80
    Frequently beautiful and intermittently haunting and could be called a meditation on aging and mortality, an intimate study of a peculiar variety of fame and a portrait of a genuinely remarkable person.
  4. 70
    Steven Sebring spent a decade making this documentary about the punk poet, and it shows.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    The textured, thoughtful results may prove too cerebral and abstract for audiences beyond Smith's hardcore followers,
  6. When embraced on its own terms, the film will provide an ironic bridge for those who want to share a greater closeness with Smith.
  7. Reviewed by: Camille Dodero
    109 mostly black-and-white minutes of punk's wet nurse floating through the modern world while endlessly ruminating on mortality, art, and the occasional bodily function. Problem is, there's nary a hint of context, even with biographic essentials.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. MonkeyT
    May 9, 2009
    Beautiful!!!! Serene, funny, moving, powerful, passionate. A gem.
  2. JohnA
    Feb 26, 2009
    As much as I feel respect for Patti Smith, her art and over-indulgent self sadly form a thick pretentious cloud behind which her humour and true persona (of which tiny bits in this film are amazing) remains for most part unseen. She is an honest person, true to her beliefs and warm-heartedly leads us through the film but in general, the point is sadly missed - 'Dream of Life' should have been called 'Patti Smith - This and That', due to her exposure to daily routines of painting, taking pictures, singing in and out of tune, walking around graveyards to express respects and gratitude to her ever-beloved poet idols... maybe that was the concept of the film, and to record an in-depth ten years video diary and then try and squeeze it into 2 hours isn't at all greatful or easy, there is still plenty of unnecessary philosophy which might even provoke those more dedicated to drop a yawn or two. Expand