Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Joel Selvin
    Documentary filmmakers pray for something to happen to their subjects when the cameras are rolling, and two-time Academy Award-winning documentarian Kopple struck gold when Maines told a crowd on the opening night of the band's first European tour that she was "ashamed" that President Bush was from Texas.
  2. 100
    The Dixie Chicks may never regain their prolonged eminence on the country charts. However, the art and entertainment value of this movie (and of their latest album) is off the charts in the best way.
  3. The film may be subtitled "Shut Up & Sing," but you can't sing with your mouth closed.
  4. 88
    For three years, the camera focuses on the Chicks as wives, mothers, entertainers and political flash points. Their fight to stay uncompromised is inspiring.
  5. 88
    The documentary shows what a tight-knit group the Chicks are.
  6. A seriously entertaining highlight of the fall season.
  7. Reviewed by: Angel Cohn
    While it's unlikely that her film will sway former fans who swore off the band for political reasons, that seems beside the point.
  8. 88
    Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck's film is a fascinating look at the intersection of commerce, celebrity, and controversy.
  9. Through it all, Natalie Maines' decision to shirk humility, to stick by her guns, to the point that the group returns to that London concert venue in 2006 and she utters the same joke again, becomes a feisty and inspiring act of something there is only one word for: patriotism.
  10. What a mind-bending odyssey ensues--a tale of good old-fashioned American free expression at war with good old-fashioned American capitalism.
  11. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    The filmmakers are clearly in awe of the Chicks' fighting spirit. If you think Maines's original Bush remark was disrespectful, wait till you hear what she calls him here. Maines is not ready to make nice, and neither is this riveting documentary.
  12. 80
    The movie endorses the liberal conception of the Chicks as free-speech heroes, which doesn't quite wash: Maines shot her mouth off to a receptive overseas crowd, then issued an apology as soon as the backlash began back home.
  13. Though the advertising plays up the film's Bush-bashing angle, it gives a false impression. This is really more of a backstage drama.
  14. 75
    The fact that you might emerge from the theater eager to give their albums a listen is a testament to how effective this lively and stirring movie about freedom of speech really is.
  15. As insightful as it is entertaining.
  16. 75
    Sharper and far more entertaining than most political documentaries.
  17. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    While there is a vague hint of a vanity project in a few extraneous scenes, directors Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck have fashioned a compelling and rousing film that will not only appeal to Chicks fans, but make fans of those who weren't before.
  18. Both the Chicks and this doc are left to deal with the aftermath as best they can. The film chooses to pad with an occasional over-reliance on cutesy filler -- a pregnant Emily having an ultra-sound, giving birth, recuperating at her beloved ranch away from it all.
  19. Most importantly, Shut Up & Sing is about what happens in the music industry to people who won't.
  20. 75
    Maines' big mouth and winning candor got her into trouble, but Shut Up & Sing suffers from filmmakers who are intent on playing it safe.
  21. 70
    Kopple and Peck went on and off the road with the band for the three years of waffling, agonizing and defiance in between Maines’ mouth-offs.
  22. The movie offers a revealing case study of the relationship between politics, celebrity and the media in today’s polarized social climate.
  23. One of the excellent attributes of Shut Up & Sing is that it lets the cards fall where they may and really doesn't try to spin the Chicks themselves. It's quite possible, then, to watch the film and come to the conclusion that Maines has a big mouth. Spectacularly talented, the young singer is also a spectacular blowhard.
  24. Reviewed by: Phil Gallo
    It's the rare thorough documentary on a musical act whose dilemmas are faced in the here and now, one that should win over fans of the Chicks on the fence and of music docus and perhaps create a little cultural stir as well.
  25. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    Sympathetic, engaging documentary.
  26. An inspiring story of pluck, but its politics fall flat.
  27. Reviewed by: Luke Y. Thompson
    The movie's not quite the Bush bashfest its publicity might lead you to believe; it's closer to the Metallica doc "Some Kind of Monster" than to "Fahrenheit 9/11."

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