Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Bill White
    100
    Commentary from shockingly outspoken Watts residents on topics ranging from revolution to infidelity are a vital part of the documentary.
  2. The result is a time capsule par excellence...This is the best of times and the worst of times, African American style.
  3. 90
    A candid, colorful and deeply meaningful sociocultural time capsule, one that captured the black community at the height of its political energy and optimism.
  4. 80
    Now an invaluable time capsule, the film has to transcend its own conceptual messiness.
  5. 75
    Wattstax is a disorienting and ironic moviegoing experience. It's a film about the curative powers of rhythm-and-blues music that sets out to frustrate your sense of rhythm in its insistence on the blues.
  6. I wish I could say that Wattstax was an ecstatic soul celebration, but most of the performances, while enjoyable, fall short of memorable.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Scheinfeld
    70
    The film is saved by the raw power of the performances, and especially, Richard Pryor's bitterly funny observations.
  8. 70
    Not only documents the soul-titan concert held at L.A. Coliseum seven years after Watts burned, but illuminates the rue and kinesis of a city in full Black Power flower.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. [Anonymous]
    Jun 14, 2003
    6
    Too many musical performances chopped in half, too much street talk, interspersed by early Richard Prior comedy made it worth the price of Too many musical performances chopped in half, too much street talk, interspersed by early Richard Prior comedy made it worth the price of admission. Musically disappointing because of lack of full performances, eg: Albert King was alloted about 60 secs. live footage while Little Milton's primitive (which wasn't even performed at Wattstax at all) music video was nice for the first minute but we didn't need all 4 minutes of it. Film is kind of a frustrating hodgepodge to sit through, although the sound quality overall is excellent and perfectly synchronized. Full Review »
  2. [Anonymous]
    Jun 14, 2003
    6
    Too many musical performances chopped in half, too much street talk, interspersed by early Richard Prior comedy made it worth the price of Too many musical performances chopped in half, too much street talk, interspersed by early Richard Prior comedy made it worth the price of admission. Musically disappointing because of lack of full performances, eg: Albert King was alloted about 60 secs. live footage while Little Milton's primitive (which wasn't even performed at Wattstax at all) music video was nice for the first minute but we didn't need all 4 minutes of it. Film is kind of a frustrating hodgepodge to sit through, although the sound quality overall is excellent and perfectly synchronized. Full Review »