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Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: As our country continues to embroil itself in foreign wars and pins its hopes on a new leader's promise for change, Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune is a timely and relevant tribute to an unlikely American hero. Over the course of a meteoric music career that spanned two turbulent decades, Phil Ochs sought the bright lights of fame and social justice in equal measure - a contradiction that eventually tore him apart. From youthful idealism to rage to pessimism, the arch of Ochs' life paralleled that of the times, and the anger, satire and righteous indignation that drove his music also drove him to dark despair. In this brilliantly constructed film, interview and performance footage of Ochs is illuminated by the ruminations of Joan Baez, Tom Hayden, Pete Seeger, Sean Penn, Peter Yarrow, Christopher Hitchens, Ed Sanders, and others. (First Run Features) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jan 20, 2011
    91
    At once an unsentimental portrait of the ambitious singer who thought himself bound for glory, and an affecting elegy for a time when song was a form of revolution.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 7, 2011
    83
    Many of the interviews in the film – conducted with everyone from family members to Christopher Hitchens and Tom Hayden – look to be 10, even 20, years old. Together they concoct a complex portrait of an ultimately unknowable man.
  3. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Mar 4, 2011
    80
    Beautiful and melodic as well as pointedly political.
  4. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Jan 4, 2011
    70
    Though hewing to a too-conventional structure, Bowser's film is densely researched enough to yield insights not just into its overlooked subject, but also into his overly analyzed era.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jan 5, 2011
    70
    The story told by Mr. Bowser's film is complicated and tragic.
  6. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jan 7, 2011
    60
    Though Bowser uses old footage when possible, the absence of his subject -- who died tragically in 1976 -- is keenly felt.
  7. Reviewed by: Leba Hertz
    Mar 17, 2011
    50
    Not only is a good look at a man who carved a small but important niche into the folk world but a good record of the turbulent 1960s and what motivated its protesters.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Dec 7, 2011
    10
    Terrific film about Ochs and the sixties youth movement. But Metacritic goofed when describing Leba Herz's review as a "50". Her review is totally positive, no negatives whatsoever. Reads more like an "80" to me. The "50" is the lowest score out of 10 total and brings down the overall score disproportionately. Expand
  2. Apr 17, 2011
    9
    The film captures the grimness of that era, the struggles of the civil rights era, the shock of the Kennedy and MLK assassinations, and the interminable horror of the Vietnam War. It's a worthy corrective to mendacious film fantasies like Forrest Gump. Those born since the '70s have no idea of how threatened, paranoid and alienating it was in post-WWII America, and the propaganda ministry of the mainstream media tends to keep it that way. With regards to Ochs, the film exaggerates his interest in pop-stardom, which was always an absurdist parody of same. Likewise the influence of John Wayne. James Dean was a real influence, particularly the misunderstood rebel without a cause who died an early tragic death. Likewise, the diagnosis of bipolarity, which is made much of, seems mainly in retrospect. Today bipolarity is a catch-all for what were in those days psychopathologies, and the victims of which were often institutionalized. Today many of the delusional symptoms of same are treatable with drugs. In those days they were not. But, distinctly, that's not what was wrong with Ochs. He was saner and more politically astute than most. Under the stresses of the music business, radical politics, harassment by the FBI, he took various drugs and drank in excess, and they took their toll. There is a form of depression that results from chronic THC intake, and it's known to sometimes lead to suicide. That may have been it with Ochs, if indeed he committed suicide.... But I digress. The film is worth seeing. Phil Ochs lives. Expand
  3. Mar 4, 2011
    8
    Did a good job of his protest years, but didn't really delve much into his change of style or what really caused the break down. But overall wonderful to see him get the attention. The audience at the Alamo in Austin gave him a round of applause at the end. Good book about him Same title Micheal Schumacher. Expand