Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Joel Selvin
    100
    This wise and warm man, who died in 2002, is captured in all his glory by the remarkable documentary.
  2. 100
    Music fans of every stripe should kill to see this film, one of the very best music documentaries in recent years.
  3. It makes a convincing argument that Dowd's personal history is a kind of history of the 20th century itself, encompassing the era's art, science, commerce and politics.
  4. 90
    Moormann's film transcends A&E hagiography, and Dowd's spry egoism and science-hipster joie de vivre provide piquant icing. Recalling trends, technical advances, artists, and landmark sessions (one where he suggests the rhythm for "Sunshine of Your Love"), Dowd conjures the excitement that helped coax so many iconic performances.
  5. If there is one moment in The Language of Music that will thrill old rock fans, it's watching Dowd, his fluid hands moving with a surgeon's grace, remix for the film's benefit the 24-track sub-master of "Layla."
  6. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    90
    Dowd's graciousness and enthusiasm, and the enormous respect afforded him by industryites on record here, make this a thorough and satisfying acknowledgement of one man's unique contribution to popular music.
  7. Reviewed by: Howard Cohen
    88
    The Language of Music hews strictly to its title, however. There isn't anything about Dowd's life outside music except for details of his work as a nuclear physicist at Columbia University, where he was a key part of the Manhattan Project research team that developed the atomic bomb during World War II.

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