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Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Nat Hentoff is one of the enduring voices of the last 65 years, a writer who championed jazz as an art form and who also led the rise of 'alternative' journalism in America. This unique documentary wraps the themes of liberty, identity and free expression around a historical narrative that stretches from the Great Depression to the Patriot Act. At the core of the film are three extraordinary, intimate conversations with Hentoff. Commentary and perspective are offered through additional interviews with such luminaries as Amiri Baraka, Stanley Crouch, Floyd Abrams, Aryeh Neier and Dan Morgenstern. Interwoven through it all is the sublime music of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Bob Dylan, along with never-before-seen photographs and archival footage of these artists and other cultural figures at the height of their powers. [First Run Features] Expand
  • Director: David L. Lewis
  • Genre(s): Biography, History, Music, Documentary
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Runtime: 87 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 11, 2014
    83
    The documentary includes peerless clips of Billie Holiday and Lester Young from a TV show Hentoff coproduced as well as snatches of an interview with a young Bob Dylan, a clip of Hentoff on William Buckley’s “Firing Line” TV show, and lots more worth your time.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Jun 26, 2014
    75
    One might not think that bouncing back and forth between Jazz Hentoff and First Amendment Hentoff would make for consistently engaging viewing, but the movie is in fact remarkably fluid and never less than compelling.
  3. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Jun 24, 2014
    70
    The film has its insights, but perhaps its greatest value is in how it offers something of a record of what time with the talkative, tireless Hentoff is like.
  4. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Jun 24, 2014
    70
    This succinct documentary sticks smoothly to its beat.
  5. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Jul 14, 2014
    70
    Hentoff presides over a film rich in the sounds and occasional sights of legendary cultural figures, from Lenny Bruce and Malcolm X to Bob Dylan and Coleman Hawkins.
  6. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Apr 30, 2014
    60
    A sharp-looking and enjoyable doc that celebrates the writer's legacy but, in its willfully obscure structure, seems a bit too bent on echoing his famous nonconformity.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jun 26, 2014
    60
    This mellow chronicle of Nat Hentoff is like a tour through New York’s past.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

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