Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: A wildly entertaining, star-studded documentary about The Beatles’s favorite American musician, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? is a vibrant and definitive portrait of one of the most talented singer-songwriters in pop music history. Directed by Emmy and Grammy nominee John Scheinfeld (The U.S. Vs. John Lennon), the film combines compelling interviews with Nilsson’s family, friends and colleagues — including Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Robin Williams, Micky Dolenz and Yoko Ono — with rare and never-before-seen archival footage, home movies, and excerpts from a recently discovered oral autobiography. The film delves deeply into Nilsson’s artistic process, his spirited relationship with John Lennon, and the additions that haunted him in and outside the studio — as well as the peace he found as a devoted husband and father. (Lorber Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. 83
    If nothing else, Scheinfeld captures the essence of the Nilsson experience, and how, according to his attorney, "He would turn up at your door at 4 in the morning, and you knew that the next three days were going to be an adventure."
  2. 80
    The point of it is not, in the end, to explain him or solve the mystery of his life, but rather to spend time in his company and understand why he is someone to be missed.
  3. 80
    A worthwhile portrait of a genius who made beautiful music, and a case study for how to tragically, epically self-destruct.
  4. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    The director doesn't bother to interview the experts-only those who knew the man best.
  5. It's a safe bet that exposure to the film should cause audiences to make room on their iPods for some serious downloading.
  6. Reviewed by: Steve Simels
    Unsurprisingly, the strongest moments of the film are musical.
  7. Director John Scheinfeld's film, utilizing interviews with friends and collaborators, hits a high note on Nilsson's friendship with Ringo Starr and his fear of stage performance.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. May 17, 2012
    I would call Harry Nilsson a maverick because he refused to conform and took an unorthodox stand for an artist in his business, the very definition of the word. I just recently watched the 2010 version of the documentary (earlier versions are not as complete according to my research) and though I was familiar with his musicography I knew little about his life; this film filled that void. It is an excellent biodocumentary; I trust you will come to the same conclusion. I only got to know all his music in recent times but it's never too late to discover good music and a voice like his. The editing is faultless and the special effects montage of the stills make them come alive.Other reviews comment about the movies festivals overwhelming positive response for this movie; the movie did live up to those comments.

    The movie explains why he was such a well kept secret; his music was very popular and many other artists praised and used his work but the man did not want to be a public figure he just wanted his work to be appreciated. What a life this movie depicts. Once you start watching it, you don't want to stop and as some other reviewers wrote it could have lasted three hours and still would have watched it all; this is especially true if you know even a little about his music. Just to make a point that will get the message of who he was: John Lennon said he was his favourite, Paul McCartney had two favourite artists, Brian Wilson and Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson praised Harry in this documentary and Randy Newman said he felt honoured to have Nilsson make an album exclusively of his songs despite the record companies reticence. I chose to write this review at this particular time for a reason; I'm glad it was about this documentary and I'll leave at that. I hope you discover Harry Nilsson from his music and this movie may just help you do that.
  2. Nov 5, 2010
    Just watched this on Netflix. Well done documentary about a very gifted man who ultimately could not overcome his demons. Lots of good footage and pretty well paced. Collapse